Bláthnaid Ní Chofaigh & Anne Cassin“Oh I went for it like nothing else. I asked to see the bosses about it, I went for it, I pitched it. “

As heard on Today with Sean O'Rourke

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“Exhilarated” is how Bláthnaid Ní Chofaigh  says she feels after a long day filming for her new role on Nationwide. Both Anne Cassin and Bláthnaid dropped in for a chat with Seán about their new partnership on the show.  Bláthnaid told Seán she couldn’t be happier:

“Yeah, I’m loving it. It was great. You know when you come back and yeah, you’re wrecked and it was cold, but you’re exhilarated. I haven’t had that for a while, so I was thrilled.”

Seán asked Bláthnaid about her ambition to secure the presenting gig. Bláthnaid said she threw everything at it:

“Oh I went for it like nothing else. I asked to see the bosses about it, I went for it, I pitched it. And even when I went to chat to them, it was a pitch. It was a very animated pitch. And I remember doing a piece to camera as I would see it on Nationwide, so yeah, I went for it, absolutely.”

Seán asked  Bláthnaid was she suggesting in her pitch that she could improve Nationwide? Her answer was pretty clear:

“No, not at all. My pitch was what I’d like to bring to it and what I’d like to bring to it if I could bring something to it: myself. And that’s all I can do. Everything I do I give it 100%. That’s not always necessarily a good thing. You have to hold a little bit back, which I still have to learn to do.”

Seán quoted a recent newspaper interview to Bláthnaid in which she spoke about her self-doubt and ‘imposter syndrome’. Bláthnaid says it comes from her constant willingness to learn:

“I never presume there’s something I can’t learn, or won’t learn or won’t find out. […] The day I presume I know it all I’ll be no good to anyone.”

Anne Cassin said the secret to Nationwide’s popularity is that it has adapted to the needs of the audience without making jarring changes to the formula:

“I think its success has been that it hasn’t changed too much, but it has kept close to the audience, so that we are able to reflect what’s happening in the country. So all through the recession, we were cognisant of what was happening in the country”

Both presenters say listening to people they meet around the country is key – not only because they make up part of the show’s audience, but because new stories constantly emerge from this interaction, as Anne Cassin points out:

“Often out on a story, you’ll get a story”

Bláthnaid agrees that it’s all about the people:

“Every execution of a story, every interview I’ve done, it’s all people-led. If they don’t want to share the story, I have no story.”

Find out more about Nationwide’s special series on aviation (Monday 20th marks 80 years of Dublin Airport, Wednesday 22nd celebrates women in Irish Aviation)  and more in Seán O’Rourke’s full interview with Bláthnaid Ní Chofaigh and Anne Cassin here.

Nationwide is on RTÉ1 every Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights at 7.

Ruth Kennedy

© The Listener 2020

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