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Teresa Mannion – How I got here

Teresa Mannion – How I got here

By Mary Lucey

Teresa Mannion is a well-known and much loved RTE News Reporter. Married and living in Galway City with her two sons, Cian and Tom. She works covering Galway and Mayo but out of other regions for breaking news. She became an internet sensation with her infamous viral weather report in 2015 and will be always associated with the tagline “Don’t make unnecessary journeys”. She completely went out of her comfort zone by participating in Dancing with the Stars two years ago. She tells us about her career path and how she got to where she is today…

Tell us a bit about your school years…

In school, I was always writing short stories and English was my first love. I entered a short story in the young Irish writing section of the Irish press and the head nun announced it over the school intercom and I thought i had won the Pulitzer prize!

After School….

I went on to study media communications and did an internship with RTE radio 1where I discovered my love of broadcasting. I answered an RTE advert for presenters for a new TV show called Youngline. I made the shortlist and went to the studio for some practical auditions after the job interview. I had to do some DIY which was a disaster but I think the fact I kept going and made light of it was a factor in me getting one of the three positions. I had a great TV career until Youngline was axed. That was tough but such is the nature of television. programmes came and go all the time – except the news! I was on the dole for a while then went to live in New York with my sister for a year. I had the best time waitressing and writing freelance articles based on the world opening up before me. I got to sit in a restaurant in Manhattan with Jack Nicholson and Warren Beatty one night. It was all fodder for my articles before I received a call from a producer in RTE to present a new science programme!!

Did you always want to do this…

I always knew I wanted to work in the media because I loved the whole business of communication be it writing fiction, training as a journalist, learning the ropes in a TV studio, taking part in outside broadcasts. As you can see I dipped into all of those areas and eventually wound up in news. Working in the newsroom was a baptism of fire and the most challenging job I ever held. It was such a learning curve to react to breaking news and turn material around quickly and accurately for bulletins. Once you have mastered the skill of news gathering under pressure, you can take on anything. That said I didn’t master the steps too well on Dancing With The Stars but had a great experience overall!!”.

What initially planted the seed in your mind…

I loved storytelling and all media is about stories. I know we call them platforms and content creation now but a good story still makes the world go round and the ingredients are essentially the same.

Who influenced you making your career choice…

My Dad was a train driver who used do commentaries on board for tourists! He loved stories and never tired of telling them. I think i inherited his curiosity about life and his fascination with people. You have to be truly interested in other people to be a good reporter

What typically does your job involve in a day or week…

I generally do 3-4 reports (packages) a week. We plan ahead and pitch ideas to editors. But when news breaks all hell breaks loose as well! You’re on 24/7 while the story is hot. That means edited reports, two way lives, radio audios, morning Ireland features etc etc. its ambulance chasing and adrenalin fuelled and you collapse afterwards. But that’s the buzz of the job. It’s not for everyone but i wouldn’t swap it for the world.

What skills do you consider necessary for your career…

Expect the unexpected. Listen to the person you’re interviewing; really listen because sometimes there’s a light bulb moment, a wonderful turn of phrase, a sharing of something from the heart that makes the story sing. Also you‘ve got to know your facts so checking and rechecking is a crucial part of the job.

What do you love about your job…

The sheer variety! Meeting people from all walks of life. Travelling to great places and getting the pulse of the nation

Is there anything you don’t like about your job…

A very early or very late call from the news desk!

Why do you think you have such a successful career…

I think I’m relatable and real. I’ve never been in awe of anybody, just fascinated by their stories. But we’re all just human at the end of the day.

Would you change any of your career decisions…

Sometimes I hanker after what would have been if I had pursued a childhood dream of being an actress. It’s a tough life though unless you’re one of the very few that can pick and choose scripts as they please. But you know, I get my performance kicks from broadcasting on the news!!

What are you most proud of in your career…

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There are so many moments of pride that it’s difficult to say. Every week I relish the opportunity to tell a story well and do my job as a public service broadcaster. However, winning a Jacob’s TV award for up and coming young presenters was my BAFTA moment!

What opportunities did your career afford you…

I think it’s the privilege of access to people and places that I’d never have if I wasn’t doing this job. I get to interview the great and the good, the inspirational and the downtrodden, the activists and the naysayers, the creative and the pioneering change makers.

Are women fairly represented or underrepresented in your profession….

There is so much equality of opportunity now that some of my male colleagues feel under represented at times! Seriously there’s never been a better time for women in media as regards equal treatment and career progression. Sadly the future of this industry is undergoing massive change as a result of rapid technological advances. The digital age has transformed our lives but at what cost to jobs. There are so many media graduates looking for work and those fortunate to get contracts are often poorly paid. It is a tough battle initially.

Advice for those making career choices now…

I think it’s worth having other strings to your bow. Nowadays it’s worth considering maybe a Masters in journalism or communications to complement an undergraduate qualification in arts, law, finance, languages for example….having an area of expertise is useful in a highly competitive sought after field.

Advice for those waiting for leaving cert results over the next few weeks or mature people considering returning to college…

Don’t stress too much over grades. Easy for me to say but honestly there are so many ways around the houses these days. If you have a passion in your belly, that’s way more important than paper results. Your drive and willingness to learn are hugely important attributes. Don’t be afraid to come at things in different ways. As you can see I didn’t have a five year plan. Life tends to get in the way!

Any final words of inspiration…

Be the best you. Don’t compare yourself to others. Listen to yourself and what makes you tick. Follow your gut as well as doing the important work of learning your craft. Get out of your own way and remember to breathe!

If you would like to be featured in “How I got here” please email Mary Lucey at

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