News and events

Niall McDonald

BA (Hons) Journalism

UCLan journalism graduate Niall McDonald works as a Senior Text Producer at Sky News. Graduating from the BA(Hons) Journalism course in 2009, he won the Alan Burgess award for journalism at his graduation ceremony.
In his role Niall controls what text appears on screen and is often responsible for breaking some of the biggest news stories.

He said: “My job is one of the most visual jobs at Sky News. Text Producers are in charge of all the text that appears on screen, all the fact straps that you see during a story and the ticker that rolls along the bottom.

“When a breaking news story happens at Sky it is the Text Producers who are the first people to break the story by writing a breaking news fact strap on the yellow ticker.

“It is an extremely tough job. Often we have to tell some of the biggest stories in the world in just 10 or 11 words and very often we have around 15-20 seconds to write it, check it and put it on screen without any mistakes.

“As stressful as the job is, it is also extremely rewarding. Sometimes you can be thinking it is a quiet night and then suddenly two bombs go off in Boston and you are in the middle of the biggest news story in the world with no script, you have to just work on your wits. In the two years that I have worked at Sky, I have broken the news of the death of Colonel Gaddafi and reported on conflicts in Libya, Syria and Mali.

“The course at UCLan was a great help for me to get my job at Sky. The journalism course is extremely practical and gets you to think not as a student but as journalist. Media companies really appreciate students who come in for interviews with experience behind them, and that is where news days and going out interviewing people in Preston really comes into its own. The course was really good to me and I am proud that I have been able to come back to the course to give a few lectures about what it is like to work for Sky.”