Volume 20 Issue 4 | June 15 - 21, 2007
Etta Sanders, 50, Tribeca reporter, dies
By Jennifer Milne
Etta Sanders, a Tribeca Trib reporter who covered W.T.C. redevelopment and 9/11 health-related issues, died June 5 of lung cancer. She was 50.
Sanders began reporting for the Trib in a freelance capacity in May 2003, but quickly distinguished herself by being “gutsy,” said Carl Glassman, editor and co-publisher of the paper.
“I knew she was sick a lot of this time and the gutsiness she showed wouldn’t have been interpreted by another reporter,” Glassman said. “She would go to these meetings and she didn’t have a voice. She was very brave.”
Sanders was born in New Rochelle, N.Y., and had lived in the City Hall area with her husband, Andrew Weinstein, since 1979. Glassman said Sanders was “a real Downtowner.” She earned her bachelor’s degree from New York University and received a Master of Science in Journalism from Columbia University in 1998. Following the September 11 attacks, Sanders had a special interest in reporting on the World Trade Center issues. Glassman said Sanders left her Downtown apartment shortly before the second tower fell.
“From my own experience, I can say that she never let her own illness affect her objectivity in the reporting of W.T.C. health stories,” Glassman wrote in an email. “And while she clearly was interested in writing on that subject, she never spoke about it in a personal way. In fact, she took some heat from a story she wrote that surveyed Downtown pediatricians who said they were seeing no negative health effects in local kids.”
Sanders’ own children, twin boys, 8, attend P.S. 234 in Tribeca, where Sanders was active in the P.T.A. Mariama James, the second vice president of P.S. 234’s P.T.A., remembers Sanders as a “beautiful person.”
“She was well-loved in the community,” James said. “She will definitely be sorely missed. Although she had a very busy and consuming job, she always made time to attend the P.T.A. meetings as a parent, not a reporter. She made herself available to us and to her children. She was a great mother, a great friend and a great reporter.”
Before coming to the Trib, Sanders also worked as a freelance reporter for Newsday from 1998 to 2002, where she wrote about youth-related subjects, among others, like family court and deaf immigrant students.
Her survivors include her husband, Andrew, and her two sons.