Until September 2007 Iona worked in the horse racing industry, riding and training racehorses in the UK, Australia and Ireland. From a Grand National favourite to lowly sellers at Wolverhampton. She was responsible for some of the very best horses to many of the extraordinarily slow.
Aboard 1999 Grand National favourite Fiddling the Facts
After thirteen years, two broken legs and ankles, smashed out teeth, dislocated vertebrae, ruptured discs, a dislocated ankle, a broken foot, shredded tendons, too many bangs on the head and some “spectacular crushing injuries” according to one surgeon, Iona left the world of jump racing behind her, packed her bags in Ireland and returned to the UK.
Swapping her saddle for a satchel she went back to school to re-train as a journalist, graduating with a first class honours degree from City University London in July 2010, in addition to studying Arabic for two years part-time at the University of Westminster.
Since beginning her new life Iona has worked for: BBC Newsnight (in 2008), the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (2010), GCap Media (now Global Radio 2007-2008) and gained valuable experience with the Sunday Times after winning the Tom Walker Trust Award in 2009.
Two days after finishing at City Iona started a ten week contract reporting for Bloomberg News.
In early October 2010 she moved to Sana’a, Yemen and worked as an editor and then managing editor for the Yemen Times. Due to growing demand during Yemen’s uprising she left the Yemen Times in March 2011 to concentrate on freelance work.
During her time in Yemen Iona has contributed to: The Times, The Sunday Times, The Irish Times, USA Today, TIME, Foreign Policy, The Los Angeles Times, The Daily Beast, The National (UAE), The Yemen Times, The Gulf, Global Post, Index on Censorship, Esquire Magazine (Middle East), Jane’s Islamic Affairs Analyst, Jane’s Intelligence Weekly, Jane’s Terrorism & Insurgency Monitor and IHS Global Insight.
Her footage has been used on CNN and her pictures have been seen in The Times, The National (UAE), USA Today, on Global Post and Al Jazeera. She has also appeared on Al Jazeera, the BBC (TV and radio), Sky News, Channel 4 News, France24, CTV, CBC, Democracy Now!, NPR, RTE and CBS.