"The NCTJ set-up my career" says former Sun editor

David Yelland is a successful writer and journalist, former editor of the The Sun and a partner at Brunswick Group LLP.

David Yelland is a successful writer and journalist, former editor of the The Sun and a partner at Brunswick Group LLP.

Following university David began his journalism career as a Westminster Press trainee with the Buckingham Advertiser, and also worked on a number of regional papers including the Northern Echo and the North West Times in Manchester.

”I dreamed of being a reporter from about the age of 12 or so.” David commented. “I wanted to be part of things. I knew that if I could just get into journalism that I might make something of myself.”

And he did just that. In 1992 he was given the job of business editor at The Sun and was promoted to editor in 1998, a position he held until 2003. During in this period he was also made deputy editor of the New York Post.

David joined Brunswick in 2006 and now works with numerous high profile clients on media and crisis management. He has also written a children’s novel called The Truth About Leo.

Today David looks back on his NCTJ training with fondness: ”The NCTJ dominated my life for two and a half years. First of all I was lucky enough to get on the graduate trainee programme that Westminster Press ran at Hastings. It was a 20-week intensive course, I remember, and I was so excited to have made the course, so delighted to be achieving my dream, that the time flew by, even though it was very hard work.”

”I joined the Bucks Advertiser in Chalfont St Peter as an indentured NCTJ trainee in 1985. I was a very nervous 22-year old and I don’t think they thought I’d amount to much to be honest. Back in those days I wore a very bad wig and I was so shy I didn’t speak much, even in the office. How I ever made it as a reporter I do not know.  I was also very hard working and ambitious. I listened and learned from those around me. I would stay late and get in early. I knew I could write even though some of the other skills came more slowly to me. In the end I managed to pass all the NCTJ exams when I was still at Hastings except shorthand.”

The hard work and determination paid off and David passed his shorthand exams to begin a highly successful career in journalism. He says: ”It took me two more years to get 100wpm. I am very grateful to the shorthand teacher at Hastings, Sylvia Bennett, who also taught many of my generation including Andy Coulson.” 

”The NCTJ set my career up really. I was very lucky to achieve all the things I could have dreamed of and then some. Without the kindness of people like Sylvia, Derrick Smith (who ran the Hastings centre in the 1980s and who hired me) and teachers like Keith Gale and Peter Unsworth I would not have had the tools to work at the highest levels. I was well trained and I was probably hard to train. I want to say thank you to the NCTJ and my message for younger journalists is that you need a quality training to take on big tasks.”

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