David McClendon excels at teaching his craft

Danielle Barbarich

City Editor David McClendon is the youngest person in management at the New Haven Register. He is also an adjunct professor at Quinnipiac University. After being a journalist in five states, McClendon said the Register is his favorite newspaper to work for.

McClendon, 38, has a football player’s build, a warm smile and gentle face. McClendon is proud to be the city editor. “For them to put me as number three for the editors means I’m like in the cabinet. I’m almost next in line for presidency,” McClendon said.

McClendon, born in Elizabeth, N.J., has always had an interest in journalism. While he was growing up, his parents, Deborah and Harold Lambert, had three newspapers in their house: The New York Times, The New York Daily News, and The Star Ledger of Newark. McClendon enjoyed reading the papers. “Before the internet, before MTV, the newspapers were the only legitimate window for knowing the news,” McClendon said.

McClendon used to enjoy watching Geraldo Rivera on television when he was an investigative reporter. “I liked watching people expose controversy and have people shed light on things that are wrong,” McClendon said.

McClendon graduated from Temple University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.

McClendon received the New England Press Association Award for a series about the race relations in New Haven. Another reporter, Suzan Zavadsky, shared the award with McClendon. The three part series beat out entries from such papers as The Boston Globe, but McClendon said, “I don’t do this stuff for awards.”

McClendon has been teaching journalism and mass communications courses at Quinnipiac since 1999. Professor Paul Janensch invited McClendon to speak to one of his journalism classes about working at the Register. After he spoke, McClendon became interested in teaching.

McClendon wants to help mold and guide students interested in journalism. “You struggle along trying to reach somebody and every once in a while you get one or two students and you look into their eyes and you know a light is on, and they’re really getting it,” McClendon said. He likes to demystify how things are done. McClendon said he believes that it is important for students interested in print journalism to have good teachers and supporters.

When asked if he was satisfied with his life he said, “You can’t be too satisfied; otherwise you’ll never accomplish greater things.”

McClendon hopes to eventually work for The New York Times or The Washington Post. “That’s my next step,” he said.