As a teenager, Julie Crouch almost joined the Army – now she’s the “commanding officer” at an award-winning newspaper.
Just before Christmas, Julie took over as brand editor at the Burton Mail, succeeding Emma Turton, who is taking a break after 30 years in the industry.
The Burton Mail was winner of the Newspaper of the Year title at the 2017 Midlands Media Awards, organised by Birmingham Press Club. Daily Mail columnist and broadcaster Andrew Pierce, who headed the judging panel, said: “The winning title, produced by a small, dedicated team, looks and plays the part of a model local newspaper. It is nicely presented with consistently strong local and community focused content – and the judges also felt it benefited from not being overly designed.”
Julie, aged 51, said: “I’m thrilled to be taking the helm at the Mail. And I look forward to continuing the good work and standing in the community that the title and its website have.”
Unsure of what career path to follow after leaving school, Julie eventually decided to join the Army. But while waiting for her call-up papers she saw an advertisement for a trainee reporter at the Ilkeston Advertiser – her home town newspaper.
“I thought that looks interesting – and that was that,” said Julie. “In my first week there was a train fire, an explosion at a garage and the sails blew off the local windmill. I was hooked on journalism – and ever since I have never wanted to do anything else.”
Julie originally joined the Burton Mail in 1994 as deputy news editor, subsequently taking over the role as sub-editor, before leaving 13 years later to become assistant editor at the Derbyshire weekly titles, the Ripley & Heanor News and the Belper News, owned by Johnson Press (JP).
During her six years at JP, Julie eventually became editor of the two titles, as well as working on other newspapers within the JP stable such as the Eastwood & Kimberley Advertiser, Mansfield Chad and Buxton Advertiser.
She returned to the Burton Mail four years ago as deputy to Emma Turton.
Pictured: Julie (right) pictured with Burton Mail colleagues Helen Kreft, Rhea Turner and former editor Emma Turton