TV presenter and producer, IrishTV, USA
Journalism lecturer, University of the West of Scotland
MA Broadcast Journalism, University of Sheffield, 2011–12
In some interviews the news editors turned around and said, oh my God, Sheffield, that's a good communications school
If I hadn't done the MA in Broadcast Journalism at Sheffield I would never have had the career I have been lucky to experience. Two months after finishing, I flew to the US and applied to 180 TV stations in 12 states and got two offers. However, in some interviews the news editors turned around and said: "Oh my God, Sheffield, that's a good communications school."
My focus with TV is to create long-form shows. One we are in editing stages with right now is called The Impact and looks at how to succeed in the tech world. It was shot in LA and Silicon Valley. Prior to that I was a CBS affiliate TV reporter and anchor in Tennessee covering four US states.
My current lecturing job is one I truly love. I never imagined that four years after leaving Sheffield I would be attempting to follow in the footsteps of Marie Kinsey and David Holmes. I lecture on the MA in broadcast journalism and the BA course – my focus is mobile video journalism, how to shoot, edit, write and voice and go live for TV from just your phone.
Learning in a results-driven environment with real world consequences on news days and in workshops was excellent. I walked out of that course and four months later was live in 600,000 homes across four American states, covering tornado damage – all due to the preparation, focus and grit that the journalism department instilled.
Their teaching practices and standards are also to the forefront in my mind as I now lecture here in Scotland. I even dedicated all of the third chapter in my autobiography Through Irish Eyes to my time at Sheffield University.
Frank Mansfield's voice coaching was a real highlight. He taught me about the power of a broadcast voice. In one-on-one sessions with all of us, he was intense, focused and passionate about doing the best he could for each one of the 28 in our MA broadcast journalism degree. I can never thank him enough for making me a better radio reporter and for helping me tell stories to millions of people across the world in a confident and clear manner, knowing the importance of making words on a page into a strong voice track. He is one of those people whose voice you still hear in your mind as a producer counts down: "Three, two, one... we are live."