Wednesday 28 September 2016

One piece of news can wait for Claire Brock

Published 15/06/2015 | 02:30

It's been a big year for Claire Brock. She's had "quite a lot going on", as she puts it herself. First the Dublin woman took the plunge by moving from TV3 to UTV Ireland and she will soon go on maternity leave from her position there as news presenter; she is expecting her first child with Irish rugby star Trevor Hogan, whom she married in 2013.

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"Sometimes I say next month, sometimes I say end of July", she says of her imminent due date. "It depends on how I'm feeling that day. I've actually had a really easy pregnancy which I was grateful for because I'd heard some horror stories. I think it was good, as well, to be involved in a new newsroom, it was a great distraction. I am feeling a little more tired but I feel overall very fortunate."

Brock had cut her broadcasting teeth with TV3 but after several years with the channel she decided it was time to move on. At the time - late last year - news reports described an "exodus" of staff from the Ballymount-based station to UTV but, although Brock wasn't alone, moving on to pastures new was somewhat daunting.

"It definitely was a nerve-wracking move, you've been in a place for years and you're very familiar with the setup", she says.

"But when I was put in a different environment I felt like I needed the jolt. When an opportunity comes up you kind of weigh these things up and because the media market here is relatively small the opportunities don't come around so often and it was the right move at the right time. It offers the opportunity to do a variety of stuff.

Brock grew up in Glenageary and went to Colaiste Iosagain on the Stillorgan Road, where she excelled at English and History. She studied journalism in DCU and had her work placement on TV3 before going on to do stints in Q102 and 98FM. They were years - in the 2000s - in which journalism was changing dramatically.

"In broadcast journalism we've certainly had to adapt to the internet. [Journalists] seem to have picked up a lot of new skills. You're not just working for a 5.30 bulletin, you're there with your phone out taking a picture and tweeting. Basically people want news five minutes ago."

Naturally there has been much media scrutiny on the inroads that UTV Ireland has made into the audience of the established channels. Brock says the camaraderie at the new channel has helped them focus on the job at hand.

"Starting anywhere that has a start-up vibe there's a sense that you're all in it together", she adds.

"It's been a lot of work but a lot of fun too. Notoriously building a brand with news takes time. We wanted to create our own thing and have our flagship show at ten." The focus on ratings hasn't been distracting, she adds. "(Ratings) are notoriously temperamental."

Her work has had a bearing on how she's handled her pregnancy in one interesting way. She says that the "need to find out everything" that's part and parcel of being a journalist meant she had little desire to find out the gender of her baby in advance of the birth.

"The nature of doing what we do, you naturally ask questions and want to know things and so I just decided not to find this out. I have no preference (as to the gender). I have a new little nephew and there's a clatter of boys on my husband's side. So maybe it will be a boy. People are telling me 'oh I carried like you, it must be a boy.'"

And despite the short time in the new role she feels no pressure to come back to work any earlier than normal.

"There is a very strong female management presence at UTV and everyone is very understanding. I'll be taking the full leave. I feel very supported in there."

See Claire Brock in Ireland Live on UTV Ireland, weekdays at 5.30pm and 10pm.

Sunday Independent

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