Donna gave a presentation about Donna, the person and Donna
the perception. She joined the BBC in
1989 and considers her job to be that of telling a story as a credible
messenger with confidence. She has been
a journalist for 30 years but when she started she had no self esteem.
She comes from a family of three sisters and had a very
happy home. She was a soloist and basket
ball captain and was very fond of her grandmother, Alice, who trained as a
nurse in Sheffield 100 years ago. She
(Alice) stepped out of her comfort zone, had 6 children and had the task of
laying out the dead.
Donna was born in Lisburn and moved to Dublin during the
troubles. Her father was an Irish
dancing Champion and he moved to Dublin in 1972 and the family moved a year
Donna has been very grateful to women in broadcasting, for
example Phidelma Harkin a producer. In
order to gain confidence she used to say “I can do this – Yes I can” every
morning going into the studio. Other
women who have worked very hard for success include Anita McVeigh who started
on traffic and travel and Orla Guerin who has reported from war zones all over
the world. They worked very hard for
success. She has unsociable hours and a
very supportive husband. Donna admitted
to getting very nervous, for example at the recent Easter Rising
Commemoration. She has presented the G8
Summit and the Ceasefires which have been a privilege and the Tall ships and
Balmoral Show which have been uplifting.
Listening to women and the victims of domestic abuse never
leaves her. They have described things
very vividly and she always remembers.
Her tips: never leave the radio
microphone on when going to the loo and check the names of the guests.
After 51 years she is glad to get there and is comfortable
in her own skin. She advocates:
Push yourself and
Continue to learn.
She writes most of
what she reads. She always has a script
and does not depend on the autocue. She
can change the next link on her laptop and pedals the autocue but makes sure it
is professionally done – especially material that has been ‘lawyered’.
She views a sad report before hand – to get over it so she is not
emotional on screen. The same goes for
funny stuff. When she performs – she is performing
in the News Room. She does not get
depressed and let down. She is a ‘glass
half full’ person.
Asked about her wardrobe she confirmed that she does not
have a wardrobe diary or a wardrobe allowance.
She has a black suit and a navy suit and changes her tops. She admitted that Granny Traynor used to
criticise her colour schemes.
She presented the
Queen’s visit to Dublin and Cork and loved being in Children in Need
particularly delivering cheques to charities. For those young people wishing to
get a foothold in broadcasting she advises that they become multi-skilled and
go getters. They need to be able to
spell and have good grammar for the BBC and be able to produce their own videos