20 April 2024

Jack Quann

8 February 2022

Where you grew up…

I grew up – and actually still live – in the Rathgar area of Dublin. I have done and still enjoy a fair amount of travelling though – I spent a number of early childhood years in Budapest and also studied in college in Bilbao. It seemed things kept bringing me back here for one reason or another.

How you came to be at St. Conleth’s…

I was actually in Muckross Park (back when they still taught boys) and myself and a number of others all went to Conleth’s together. Starting out in 3rd class with Mrs McQuaid, I managed to make it to 6th year in 2003! I actually still, distinctly, remember being interviewed by Kevin Kelleher in his drawing room ahead of my joining the school – the things that stay with you. 

Favourite and/or least favourite subject in school…

History was my standout favourite, thanks in no small part to Peter Gallagher. If you show passion for something, you will instil it in others. Alas, I still haven’t got a good pair of handmade leather shoes (as he so frequently suggested to us all). Least favourite would have to be maths – through no one’s fault but my own – I just don’t have a head for numbers and always found myself struggling. Though I suppose the old adage of ‘You won’t always have a calculator in your pocket!’ hasn’t quite come to pass…

Fondest memory of St. Conleth’s…

Singing Edelweiss in the Mansion House for Dublin’s Lord Mayor. As far as I remember, this was all the way back in 3rd class. I remember Kevin Kelleher congratulating me afterwards and all the fuss that was made. I also remember a photo of my performance hung beside the 3rd form classroom for several years, which was great to see. There are many, many more great memories – of course – but this is one of my earliest.

Who/what influenced you to pursue your chosen field?

I was always outspoken and opinionated – so I felt I should share that! Though I always saw myself as a Spanish teacher for some reason, it was one of my UCD classmates who suggested I consider journalism. As a self-confessed news junkie, this seemed like a good fit. An application and interview later, I was doing a Masters in Journalism. The rest, I suppose, is history. 

At what age did you know you wanted to work in your chosen field?

I always enjoyed being informed and in the loop about everything around me, so I suppose it was something that was there from a very young age. It was also in Conleth’s that I found debating and it was a natural fit for me. I won several awards and was eventually Auditor of Debates in 6th year – perhaps my first taste of informing the news agenda, so to speak? It certainly kept that spark going in me and at the forefront of my mind.

Tell us about your education/ career path…

I went from Conleth’s to study Arts (Politics and Spanish) in UCD. I saw this as a segway to becoming a Spanish teacher, but a rejection to do a HDip put an end to that avenue. Following some soul searching and advice from a classmate, I applied to do a Masters in Journalism at DCU. From there, I got an internship in Newstalk and I never left. I’ve also gone on to study Finance, Film Production and – most recently – a Diploma in Social Media. It’s important to keep upskilling and stand out, I feel. I still see all my college friends regularly, which is great. And I imagine I’d see more of my Conleth’s classmates if not for COVID.

Proudest achievement to date…

Covering the election of US President Barack Obama. I was covering the Democrats Abroad event in Dublin through the night, sending regular reports back to Newstalk as the votes were counted. I also spoke to several eminent Irish-Americans about their hopes for the future. It was probably my first taste of real-time news unfolding, while at the same time history was being made. I was privileged to play my part.

Aspirations for the future…

To stay healthy and happy in whatever happens. If the last two years have reinforced anything, it’s that so much is actually outside of our control – we have to learn to focus on ourselves and play our part, and not worry about what everyone else is doing. If you figure out how to do that, let me know!

Advice for people wanting to work in your sector/ general advice…

Go into journalism for the love of the profession and wanting to keep people informed. If you’re looking for fame, this probably isn’t for you! Never burn bridges; you never know who you might need to do you a favour in the future. As a general note, I would say never care about what someone else thinks/says of you. Your opinion of yourself is really the only one that matters – so make it a good one. 

by Charles Latvis

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