UPDATED: News journalist Danielle Whitfield’s first job spans murders and celebrity tales

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Graduate Danielle Whitfield showcases some of the stories she has covered for national publications

By Anna Riley

Celebrity penis sizes, bestiality, kidnapping and murders are among the variety of stories covered daily by a news agency journalist.

Danielle Whitfield, a Leeds Trinity University alumna, was yet to graduate when she started working at North News and Pictures, a Newcastle-based press agency.

The reporter juggled studying with a full-time job and her success shows how personality and attitude are some of the most important skills to have as a journalist, rather than academic achievement.

Danielle said: “I didn’t do very well in my A-Levels, so I was so pleased that I got in to university to study Journalism and English.

“In my third year I never thought I would get the job at North News, but they took a chance on me.

“I was doing journalism by day, studying by night and shorthand in the middle. I wasn’t really sleeping, I was hallucinating a lot, but I was having the best time.”

The trainee was thrown in at the deep end on her first day when she had to visit court to hear about Little Mix’s Jade Thirwall’s stalking case and find a copy of disgraced footballer Adam Johnson’s birth certificate.

She said: “Nothing can prepare you for some of the things you have to do as a journalist.

“The role is so varied. Starting at the agency was like a hurricane hitting me. I had to be really determined to keep going.

“If you’re lazy, you’re out.”

Danielle has written for national news publications including The Daily Mail, The Sun and The Telegraph and has been at the forefront of breaking news stories such as the Adam Johnson trial.

Women’s magazines have also published features written by Danielle on topics such as domestic abuse.

She is still studying for her shorthand exam and just passed her law exam, showing that qualifications are no barrier to starting a career in journalism

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