INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY: Mary Fanning on broadcasting in a time of Covid

March 8

Leinster Leader reporter

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Leinster Leader reporter

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INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY: Mary Fanning on broadcasting in a time of Covid

Mary being presented with her award at the Travel Extra awards in 2019

To mark International Women's Day today, we caught up with some of Kildare's most inspirational women.

Veteran broadcaster and Monasterevin resident, Mary Fanning has forged her own path in the world of media.

Although Covid has impacted how programmes are put together, she has learned to adapt to working in a pandemic.

“My day to day job involves reporting on the positive stories around Ireland for RTE's Nationwide programme. I've produced, directed and reported with the flagship programme for 26 years.

“It's such a joy to travel around the country meeting the real people of Ireland who make us who we are. I love rural Ireland and it never ceases to amaze me how resilient communities are. I especially love programmes of the horse industry, such a cornerstone of employment.”

She explains how the restrictions have impacted her work.

“Yes we can travel but we cannot under the present circumstances go inside houses, so all of our filming is outside in fields, farms and other spaces. I have, with the help of my children, upskilled on technology, to be honest I keep pressing buttons until it works!

“A filming day requires huge planning now — pack water, pack food, bring masks, wipes, gloves and hand sanitizer — so everything is packed the night before.”

So with the vaccination programme underway and hopes of an end to lockdown, what are Mary's aspirations for the times ahead.

“My plans for the coming year are to keep me and my family and loved ones safe and continue to produce good TV.”

When asked about the role of women in the media, she replies: “The role of women has changed hugely when I started in journalism in the early eighties, there were only 20% of women working as journalists.

“It was a very misogynistic profession. We even had a woman journalist of the year award which I won in 1985! RTE has always been very forward thinking and inclusive and our present Deputy Head of News and Current Affairs is a woman,

“Hilary McGouran. I think us early women journalists paved the way for the next generation, we fought hard, took no crap and my biggest influence was my dearest friend former News Anchor, Anne Doyle, she was a warrior and still is.”