Tuesday 20 March 2018

First RTÉ news show presented by all-female journalism team

RTÉ ‘Six One News’ presenters Caitriona Perry (left) and Keelin Shanley Photo: John C Cooney
RTÉ ‘Six One News’ presenters Caitriona Perry (left) and Keelin Shanley Photo: John C Cooney

Kirsty Blake Knox and Niall O'Connor

It was a good 'first day at the office' for RTÉ's new 'Six One News' anchors, Keelin Shanley and Caitriona Perry.

The two broadcasters picked up the baton from Sharon Ní Bheoláin and Bryan Dobson.

Last night, head of news Jon Williams said he was proud of the two presenters, describing them as 'great storytellers'.

"The hallmark of the 'Six One' has always been its journalism - in Keelin and Caitriona we have two of RTÉ's best storytellers at the helm of one of its biggest shows," he said.

Ms Shanley said the day "went in a flurry", but that she was delighted nothing went wrong.

"It's a credit to the team, who are just brilliant. Nothing went wrong which was a relief and I'm looking forward to the next few days. Caitriona and I get on great and worked together before, so we are really excited."

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Ms Perry said things have been particularly hectic, given that she only moved back from Washington DC on New Year's Eve.

"It was brilliant to finally get going on air," she told the Irish Independent. "It's a big show with a great team behind it, so we really wanted to do a good job. Having worked on my own for the much of the last four years, it has been wonderful working with Keelin. There was such positive feedback from viewers to our first show. If the audience was happy, we're happy. Now the expectation of the first one is over, it'll just be a case of business as usual from here on."

The team's first broadcast was met with an enthusiastic reaction from TV viewers.

"What a superb first 'Six One News' from Keelin Shanley & Caitriona Perry - both incredibly talented broadcast journalists and wonderful colleagues," wrote Miriam O'Callaghan.

There has been big change in the RTÉ newsroom in the past 12 months.

In summer, the issue of gender pay disparity was highlighted when it emerged that Ní Bheoláin earned up to €80,000 less than Dobson. She was later promised this would be addressed.

In October, Mr Dobson left the TV newsroom after 21 years. He has now moved to 'Morning Ireland' in RTÉ's radio building.

Ms Perry spent four years as RTÉ's Washington correspondent.

At the time of her appointment to 'Six One', she said: "I think it's a brave and enlightened choice …Particularly given the debate that there has been in Ireland about gender bias and certain other shows, other stations, are very male-dominated."

Irish Independent

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