Fiona Cavanagh was the daughter of Clarion Group boss Nick Cavanagh. In March 1988, Fiona was drafted in by Nick as Janet Bamford's replacement in the role of secretary of the Weatherfield Recorder, after Nick bought up Bob Statham's 60% majority share of the newspaper. The move annoyed minority shareholder Ken Barlow, especially as Nick had persuaded Ken to sack Janet, but when she started in the job Fiona made sure Ken knew that she was genuinely interested in journalism and would be an asset to him.
Fiona impressed Ken with her efficiency although he disapproved of her less-than-honest approach to dealing with advertisers, including lying to a shopkeeper about a new retailer opening in competition with her, and pretending to be a customer and telling them she saw their advert in the Recorder. In that respect, Fiona was her father's daughter however her methods gave results and after a while Ken admitted that she was a walking advertising ledger.
Three months later, Nick absconded, taking what money he could get his hands on. Investigating, Fiona discovered that the Clarion Group had been near financial ruin when Nick bought the Recorder, and a deal with a buyer for the Group to settle his debts had fallen through at the last minute. Ken believed Fiona when she swore she had no idea things were so bad, and that she didn't know where Nick had gone, and together they tried to save the Recorder. Fortunately, Nick had never paid Bob Statham for his share of the paper, but as the Recorder had been incorporated into the Clarion Group's base at Neptune House, which was held by the receivers, Fiona and Ken had to work on the paper at 1 Coronation Street. Fiona persuaded Ken to use the spare set of keys to break into the office and steal the paste-ups, enabling them to get that week's paper out. The legal issues were resolved in time for the following week's issue, by which time Ken had bought Statham's share and moved the Recorder into a new unit in Curzon Street.
Fiona subsequently helped Ken in his new role as business owner. She persuaded him to buy top-of-the-range word processors and employ Ian Knowles as photographer, although in doing so she earned the ire of Deirdre Barlow, who couldn't help noticing not only how expensive her ideas were, but how easily she could talk Ken round. Deirdre also noticed that while Ian was being interviewed by Ken, Fiona was waiting in a car by the viaduct.
Fiona was still at the Recorder in June 1989. When the paper led with a sensational story about the Community Centre being turned into a hostel for homeless youths, which bore little resemblance to the truth, Deirdre rang the office to row with Ken over the trouble he would cause her in her role as councillor, although only Fiona was in the office at that time.