Wednesday 16 October 2019

Keelin 'excited' as RTÉ news shows to get a makeover early in new year

'Six One' anchor heaps praise on colleagues as she nears year in job

Host: Keelin Shanley. Photo: Patrick Bolger Photography
Host: Keelin Shanley. Photo: Patrick Bolger Photography
Sorcha O'Connor

Sorcha O'Connor

It's out with the old and in with the new for the RTÉ newsroom as the familiar set is getting a revamp for 2019.

'Six One News' presenter Keelin Shanley told the Irish Independent she was looking forward to seeing the big reveal, welcoming the changes after almost one year in the job with co-anchor Caitriona Perry.

"We are very excited about it, very excited. I don't know the details yet but I believe we are getting some form of [makeover]," she said.

Hosting the flagship news show at RTÉ has been an opportunity she has relished and Ms Shanley said she wouldn't change anything about the way the two news bulletins were transmitted every night.

"There are so many times after a long day, I will sit in studio and watch the news as it is going out and you know the way when someone else has put a report together you go, 'OK, now I get it, they're all the voices I need to hear'. I suppose it's a team that does its job well," she said.

Ms Shanley was named as the new face of 'Six One News' alongside Ms Perry late last year and said it was a pleasure to work with Ms Perry, who returned from her duties as Washington correspondent to join the newsroom team.

Their arrival saw the departure of Bryan Dobson to 'Morning Ireland', and saw Sharon Ní Bheoláin take the reins of the 9pm bulletin.

It was reported that Ms Ní Bheoláin made a complaint to RTÉ bosses following an incident on December 12, the day that British Prime Minister Theresa May faced a motion of no confidence in Westminster.

It was reported that Ms Ní Bheoláin was informed that the 9pm news would be co-presented from London by Ms Perry, but Ms Ní Bheoláin made a complaint as she felt her position was being undermined. She later made contact with Ms Perry after the newsroom disagreement to tell her that the dispute was not personal and she was just protecting her position as the 9pm news anchor.

Ms Shanley said that she and Ms Perry get on well together and she also heaped praise on the background team who helped them settle in.

"It's been great, I'm really enjoying it. It's been great working with Caitriona over the year. You know, there is such a great team behind us. I know we are sitting on the desk if you like, but there are some real pros that we work with. I can't believe it's nearly a year now."

When they were appointed to the position, there was a lot of praise for letting two women take the lead on the bulletin.

However, their gender doesn't matter to Ms Shanley, who said she thinks they are just two people doing their jobs.

"I have worked with loads of women and loads of men. It's just the two of us doing our jobs. We get on very well which is a bonus but she is a real pro, Caitriona, I really enjoy working with her."

She said sometimes she misses being out and about as a reporter. "Of course, you do sometimes, but we have got out a fair bit so that's been OK. I was at the Pope's Mass. So you do get out, you're not always stuck behind the desk."

It was difficult for her to pinpoint a highlight of the news year, but covering the presidential election was among the stand-out moments.

"The highlight is always if something is happening while you're on air, if something is breaking. The weather was a big one - we were almost sleeping in RTÉ we were reporting so much.

"The presidential campaign was a big one - you know when you're covering a breaking story, it's been an interesting year."

Irish Independent

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