Iona M.J. MacDonald

Iona M.J. MacDonald

Age: 17
Location: Inverness
Pronouns: she/her

Iona M.J. MacDonald, 30 under 30 nominee in 2023 smiling at the camera.

Iona M.J. MacDonald is a 17-year-old award-winning journalist from the north-west Highlands. Iona has been working as a trainee community reporter at Highland News and Media since she was 16 and believes that her passion for equality will lead her throughout her career.

Iona was trusted to curate the TikTok content at the Inverness Courier’s SNP leadership debate earlier this year. This was followed by their A9 Crisis Summit, where she sat on the front row beside Scottish Government representatives, capturing content – which amassed hundreds of thousands of views.

With a passion for investigative journalism, Iona put forward the idea to test how easy it is to buy vapes underage. She did extensive research, contacted the police and Trading Standards, pulled together a team including an editor and photographer, and went into shops herself to see if she could buy vapes underage. Her investigation went viral, being retweeted by prominent journalists including the head of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. As a result, she was invited to a Scottish Parliament roundtable meeting to discuss the subject with politicians, health campaigners, and environmental activists.

Most recently, she won an NCTJ award for Best Campaign, for her coverage of the closure of Mo Dhachaidh care home in Ullapool, which continues to impact families across the Highlands amidst the care home crisis.

Iona also achieved one of the highest portfolio grades of 81% on her NCTJ diploma, and is due to qualify as a fully-trained journalist before her 18th birthday.