ANGELA BARNES Interview (2019)

ANGELA BARNES: TV PRESENTER WITH A LOVE FOR DONEGAL.

Throughout her ever-blossoming career in journalism, Angela Barnes has received huge adulation for her great work on Sky television and, more recently, with NBC’s Good Morning Europe. And on an recent visit to her spiritual home of Kilcar, she very kindly took a few minutes out to talk to us here at The Leader about her love for her work and of Donegal. 

By Jonathan Foley

Presently, Angela lives in the French city of Lyon, where the Euronews NBC broadcasting company are based. She co-hosts a segment of the morning news known as ‘The Cube’ where it’s fair to say  she takes the responsibility for delivering a very modern and 21st century form of news reporting. 

“The move to France has been brilliant. Of course I was nervous at first after having spent ten years living in London and working for Sky, but the transition was made so much easier by the great people I’ve met there. NBC reach over 160 countries and it’s been great fun breaking the latest stories and doing the live broadcasts for them” Angela told, 

In a world of ‘fake news’, the focus of Angela’s slot is to provide news that has been truthfully verified. Behind the scenes, she will gather as much information as possible on a given story, before deciphering which of it is true and which of it may have been fabricated on social media. This honest and refreshing approach is welcomed by all who believe in the integrity of journalism. 

“Social media is a very big news source nowadays but we ensure that the background to any news we report on has gone through a process of verification first. Take last week as an example, natural disasters hit Indonesia very badly, but we found that a lot of the footage being shared online was from a different disaster in 2014, so we were glad we cleared that uncertainty” she added. 

Having previously worked with Sky, Angela is perhaps best recognised from her roles as presenter of such shows as Swipe and Find the Advantage. The former of the two is a show that focused mostly on technology news while the latter was one about tennis; thus granting Angela the opportunity to put her immense enthusiasm for sports into her profession. 

“Working for Sky provided me with great opportunities. I’ve always been a follower of so many sports and on Find the Advantage, we got to compare tennis with a lot of other sports like football, rugby and many others. There were funny moments when I look back now. I used to sometimes hear the director in my earpiece telling me to wrap up a segment in the next few seconds, but I loved talking sport so much, I could’ve easily gone on and on” she fondly recalled.  

“Nowadays, I’m covering a much greater variety of topics and issues from across the world. I still love sports of course but it’s been great to branch out into so many other aspects of news coverage. It’s nice to broaden the horizons, get that flexibility and variety, and I suppose with that, I might be handy to have on a pub quiz team now” she jokingly told. 

Born across the channel in Winchester, Angela’s softly-spoken English accent coincides beautifully with her innate love for Donegal and Kilcar in particular. Her father was born there before moving to the United Kingdom many years ago, but since her parents’ retirement, both of them have since moved back to the scenic southwestern area. 

“We spent every holiday in Donegal when we were children. Mum and dad are both back living here and so too is my brother. It’s a place we are all very attached to. Growing up as a little girl, I made lasting friendships with so many people here. Now that I think of it, the kids I used to build sandcastles with are now the ones I pop out for a drink and a catch up with” Angela told fondly.

“The scenery here is just spectacular and I like to get here as often as I can. I’m lucky with work too because Lyon’s not really all that far away so on my weekends off, it’s easy for me to pop back to London or over here to Donegal on a fairly regular basis. Being a keen surfer helps; in rain, hail or shine, people here often know where to find me if I’m not in when they call up to the house” she happily told. 

It’s not just Kilcar that Angela holds dearly. She also discussed how her love of surfing has seen her test out the waves in Rossnowlough and, because of her enjoyment of live music, Letterkenny has also been a regular stopping point for her. Her long-term friendship with local band, The Revs, often provided ample excuse for a night out when they were gigging up here.

And even though she might have covered a vast array of sporting and general news with Sky and NBC, Angela certainly knows how to keep in touch with the all-important sports news from this part of the world. After all, it’s not very often a television presenter living in France can honestly say that they are keen followers of Kilcar’s GAA club and the Donegal county panel.

“I was delighted last year when Kilcar won the club championship. Unfortunately, I couldn’t be here for the celebrations because I was in recovery from a knee operation at the time, but from what I’ve heard, the festivities were wonderful and I’m told they went on for quite a few days after the game itself” Angela told. 

“Earlier this season, I was at MacCumhaill Park in Ballybofey for Donegal’s league game with Mayo. That game ended in a draw which meant Donegal were officially relegated, but one thing I really enjoy about gaelic football is the spirit of it all. The fans mixing in the stands and chatting away is something to behold. All round, this is a very special place” she concluded.