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'It has been a goal of mine to get this job since I was a teen'

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SHE will follow in the footsteps of some of the country's best known journalists – Charlie Bird, Mark Little and Carole Coleman – to name just a few.

However, Dublin native Caitriona Perry is not feeling nervous ahead of her big move next month, where she will set up shop as RTE's newest Washington Correspondent.

Her main concern for now is finding somewhere to live.

"I'm not nervous at all," she said.

"I'm just really looking forward to getting started at this stage.

"There's so much organising you have to do in terms of personal stuff and getting work accreditation and that."

It is quite a feat for the 33-year-old from Castleknock, who has steadily risen up the ranks since she first began working at the Montrose station in 2007.

Caitriona finishes up in the RTE newsroom in the next week and will enjoy some leave before tackling her American dream, which will see her Stateside for at least two years.

"I haven't got anywhere to live yet, I have been looking online as best as I can so I have a big task ahead," she told the Herald.

"I have a real estate agent over there who is keeping an eye out for me, but there is only so much you can do looking at photos online."

Caitriona is hoping the perfect place pops up once she lands in the US, as somewhere safe, but close to her place of work is essential.

WORKING

"I have got a rough idea of neighbourhoods and places where I want to live so I can be near the office," she said.

"I'll be working very random hours, because I will be working mostly to the Irish clock even though I'll be in America.

"So you need to make sure that you're not relying on trains and that you can get to where you're going quite easily and that it's safe if you're coming and going in the middle of the night."

Caitriona had been out for a run with her husband when the call came through that she had got the job.

"He's delighted for me, he's really proud and supportive," she said of her husband who has a sister that lives in Washington.

"My own sister also lives in New York, she's been there for ages and then there is a producer who works for RTE over there as well – so she's been really helpful," she added.

With 9/11, the Boston bombings and Hurricane Katrina just some of the big American stories to rock the world in recent times, the role of Washington correspondent is far from easy.

But Caitriona, who has dreamed of becoming a foreign correspondent since she was a teenager, is determined to make the most of an "experience of a lifetime".

"It's a big job, it is one of the top jobs in Irish journalism that I think a lot of people would like to have a go at doing in their career so I'm thrilled," said Caitriona.

"It's been a goal of mine to get this job since I was a teenager.

"I always wanted to be a foreign correspondent in some shape or form.

"It is very high profile, you are reporting on a lot of things that affect the whole world so it's really exciting,"

BOSTON

The pretty blonde, who began her career on radio with Newstalk and TodayFM before moving to RTE, spent five months in Boston while studying for her DCU journalism degree.

She was awarded the National Justice Media Award in 2012, for Best TV News.

This was for her coverage of the government's handling of St Patrick's Institution for juvenile offenders.

While her role will see her trailing a story across the country, Caitriona also has ideas of her own and wants to stamp her authority on the role.

"Each person does their own slightly different thing and obviously things happen that you can't plan for," she added.

"I would like to be able to do some news feature stories from across the country and to visit places you don't often hear about, for example middle America."

Another item on the journalist's to-do list is to organise a farewell bash with her RTE colleagues as well as her friends and family.

"It's not a leaving bash because I'm not leaving RTE, but it's nice to say goodbye to people that I won't see for a while," she said.

hnews@herald.ie


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