Kirsty Young's journalistic career began in 1989 as a newsreader for BBC Radio Scotland where she also presented its Drivetime show. In 1992 she moved to Scottish Television where she was the presenter of Scotland Today at Lunchtime and Scotland Today - the channel's midday and evening news programmes.
From 1994-95 she was the host of 'Kirsty', a bi-weekly live discussion programme on the week's hot topics, on STV. For STV she also presented Late Edition, a live, late-night entertainment and music show.
In 1996 Kirsty was a guest presenter of ITV's The Time, The Place. Her BBC credits include presenting and reporting for Holidays Out, Holiday `96 and Film `96 on BBC1, and presenting BBC2's consumer affairs show, The Street.
During her time as presenter of 5 News Kirsty has received the prestigious Sir James Carreras Award for Outstanding New Talent of 1997 at the 46th Variety Club Showbusiness Awards. A month later, in March 1998, she was named Newscaster of the Year at the TRIC (Television & Radio Industries Club)
Awards. The programme itself won a Royal Television Society prize, collecting the Team Award at the 1997 RTS Craft & Design Awards.
In November 2003, she guest-presented an edition of Have I Got News For You to critical acclaim, despite not being a comedian. She has, in total, guest-presented four times. She appeared on Room 101 in 2004 during which cowboy boots, Britney Spears and 'baby on board' stickers went in. She also had a cameo role in Trauma, a 2004 film starring Colin Firth and Mena Suvari.
In June 2006, it was announced that Young was to be the new presenter of the long-running BBC Radio Four programme Desert Island Discs, replacing Sue Lawley. She began presenting Desert Island Discs on October 1st 2006 and returned to Five News on September 28th 2006.