Saturday 1 October 2016

TV3 anchor cut her news teeth at CNN

Published 27/04/2015 | 02:30

It was another fairly bleak week in journalism with one Twitter poll rating the profession as the worst of all careers to get into at the moment, and the depressing news that a Pulitzer Prize winner in the US has recently taken up a position as a PR representative.

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But there are still many young people with high hopes of achieving great things in media, and glamorous TV3 newscaster Caroline Twohig is one of them. The Dublin woman was recently selected from thousands of candidates world-wide to take part in a fellowship with CNN at the network's headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia.

"I was so lucky to get it", she says. " I found out in February that I was going. They whittled it down from thousands of people. I had kind of given up that I was going to get it and then my boss rang me and said pack your bags, they want you. They have the best experience in the world. You have people who've covered everything from the Oscars to war zones."

Growing up, Caroline says her tastes in media tended more toward the red carpet than the front lines. "When I was a child, I used to play at being a newsreader, sitting at the kitchen table, shuffling my papers. I'd look at my parents watching the news and everyone would stay very very quiet, so I knew it was important, but I suppose at the time I also just wanted to wear a great suit!"

Caroline's parents separated when she was a child, but the separation was amicable, and Caroline says that she and her two sisters had a very happy childhood. "My mother still lives around the corner from me in Glasnevin", she says. "Dad lives in Ballinasloe in Galway now. Adult relationships don't work out sometimes but we all still loved each other, which is important - enough crap happens later in life that you have to get over."

Some of that crap has been health difficulties. For much of her life Caroline has suffered from fairly severe asthma. "Both my sisters and me were born with it, my dad has it too, it was his gift to us," she laughs. "It's been better and worse at various times. At one point I ended up in the hospital. I got really bad in the studio, luckily we weren't on air at the time. I take two inhalers every morning now. I used to get infections before I started that. Since then it's been very manageable. I can run and do anything I want. The only time it gets bad is when I'm stressed."

Caroline studied journalism in Colaiste Dhulaigh in Coolock, and Wolverhampton in the English Midlands. The courses provided her with an eye-opener in terms of where her interests really lay.

"When I got into journalism, I was really surprised to find that I'm actually really into hard news. I'd always be the type of person reading Now! magazine, looking at Kate Moss's lipstick or Kate Middleton's hair, that sort of thing. But in my professional life, I was always much more drawn to hard news. I did a series on the women's prison in Mountjoy, and that was when I realised that hard news was for me."

Caroline lives with her boyfriend, Gareth, in Glasnevin. He bought her a charm bracelet when they moved into together. "He buys me little things for little milestones in our lives."

And as for the doom and gloom about journalism?

"Well this was reaffirmed when I went to CNN, but it felt like the job is becoming more dangerous, people are turning against media. They see you with a microphone and they think you have power. I've got serious abuse at protests, for instance. Almost as if they think you're sent by the government." It won't put her off her work though, and the CNN feather in her cap will only stand to her. "I still think good journalism is so important in society, that's one of the reasons I got into it."

Caroline Twohig presents the news on TV3

Sunday Independent

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