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Post editor lights at Sun

Murdoch ups Yelland to London tab's top spot

NEW YORK — News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch promoted New York Post deputy editor David Yelland on Wednesday to the top slot at News Corp.’s London-based tabloid the Sun.

Yelland, 35, will take over the top-selling tab Monday from Stuart Higgins, who “resigned” Wednesday to take a “senior position” with News Corp. in London, the company said in a statement. Murdoch is believed to want to make the very downmarket tabloid a little more upmarket.

The promotion is a big move for Yelland, who had climbed rapidly at the Post since arriving in 1993 from the Sun, where he had been business editor and subsequently New York correspondent. Soon after joining Murdoch’s Gotham tab, Yelland was named deputy business editor; he climbed the ladder in rapid succession to biz editor and then to deputy editor of the paper, following John Cassidy’s departure from that post in 1995.

“He knows a good story and how to display it with a maximum of impact — and that’s what tabloid journalism is about,” said Cassidy, who hired Yelland at the Post.

Yelland is a prototypical Murdoch exec, extremely sensitive to Murdoch’s likes and dislikes. Yelland is not known for his strength as a reporter but is better known at the Post for his skill at layout and writing headlines.

Yelland upset some reporters at the Post with his strong British-style tabloid approach to journalism, colleagues say.

Sources say his main impact on the Post was in its feature pages, particularly in expanding the media business pages.

Yelland’s move is part of a long tradition of Murdoch promoting Post editors to other parts of his empire.

At the Sun Yelland will have to please both Murdoch and the newspaper’s 4 million-strong readership. While the paper prospered under Higgins, Murdoch is believed to have been unhappy at the salacious turn the reporting took.