Few people know that the world’s first modern war correspondent came from Tallaght, Co. Dublin. The story of William Howard Russell and his exploits covering the Crimean War for the London Times gave my then 12-year-old self goosebumps and a lifetime’s fascination with stories.
In 1992, I somehow managed to follow Russell into Times Newspapers in London and was lucky enough to spend five years there, soaking up the kind of frontline experience a young journalist could only dream of. Stints at The Sunday Telegraph and The Scotsman followed.
As a witness, reporting and writing for newspapers gave me experiences I will never forget. These include assignments in Africa, covering the 1999 Kosovo war and a US presidential election. Oddest experience? I once ran around a field with Robert Mugabe.
As Deputy News Editor of The Observer, the world’s oldest Sunday newspaper, I was part of the team that responded to the seismic shock of 9/11 and the subsequent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In Ireland, my senior management roles included 10 years at Independent News & Media, first as News Editor of the Sunday Independent and then as Associate Editor of the Irish Independent, responsible for Saturday features content and special supplements. I’m now Content Editor of StoryLab.