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Mark Leftly

leftlyBA Hons Politics 2000

Associate Business Editor for The Independent on Sunday, The Independent, I, and the London Evening Standard

The department has some great tutors, but three who stand out for me are the late James Bullpitt, Shaun Breslin and Tim Sinclair. Jim loved a good row and Shaun once gave me a bottle of sake, so both are top gents in my book. I think it was Tim who suggested that I should go into journalism, as I was so ridiculously argumentative. The career advice was sage, and although Tim and Shaun never directly told me to get this silly chip off my shoulder, soon after university I saw what they were getting at, and their advice was instrumental.

Politics is a serious-looking degree and Warwick has a great reputation, so I got a reporting job quite quickly on Property Week. That magazine has helped so many journalists get on to national newspapers, though I took a lengthy detour to Building magazine (which was run by former Boar editor Adrian Barrick) and then The Business, which was a sister title of The Spectator. I joined The Independent on Sunday in 2008; the business desks of the newspapers in the stable merged later.

Journalism is a tough industry now, but anyone interested should have a love of gossip and a touch of ego, wanting to be first with the news. Humility is important, though, as you need sources with better knowledge than you have and the short-term nature of news means that there are always new challenges. You just have to be confident enough to tackle whatever story comes your way. Also, don’t ignore trades and local newspapers: the training is vital.