Born in Italy, she grew up in Glasgow. After spending a gap year in Paris, she studied history at Edinburgh University. After graduation she spent a year studying journalism at Georgetown University, Washington DC and worked on an NBC News political programme.
After returning to the United Kingdom, she worked in local radio in Glasgow, before joining BBC North East and Cumbria in March 2000. Kuenssberg won a Royal Television Society award for her work as Home Affairs correspondent, and gained promotion to television as a producer of the slots presented by Social Affairs editor Niall Dickson.