CNC 3 news anchor Golda Lee Bruce doesn’t see herself as celebrity, although her name and face are easily recognised. She doesn’t seek to be one, either. She’s open and charming with those who stop for a handshake and a chat, but her ego isn’t bruised by those who don’t. “There are people who like you and people who won’t. You just take it with a grain of salt.”
This doesn’t mean she doesn’t enjoy being in the public eye. She was recently involved in an abridged version of Mozart’s Magic Flute, in which she played one of the Three Ladies in Waiting. It’s a meaty, evil role, and she enjoyed every second of it. “I always felt I wanted to sing. When Musical Director June Nathaniel asked me to audition, I was really excited.”
As delicious as the experience was, she still has to balance her love of singing with her full-time media job. “I’m a reporter, producer, de-facto assignments editor.” She spends her day liaising with about 10 reporters and journalists, while keeping up with the many sources of news such as their hotline, news desk and social media. With the frenetic pace at which things happen here in T&T, it’s not an easy job. “You keep your ear to the ground,” she says, “and assign as best you can.”
Many times she actually writes the news pieces she later reads on the air, including hard news such as Parliament reports, but she prefers to do features. “I enjoy stories about people. They’re so much more fun. They’re so much more interesting.”
It’s strange when you reflect on the fact that the career that so defines her now came about almost as a happy accident, as her original intention upon leaving school was to study International Relations. She heard nothing about her application for some time, but got a last-minute offer to pursue the discipline of her second choice, Mass Communications, and leaped at the chance.
While at UWI in Mona, Jamaica, she trained in radio journalism before segueing into TV. “It was really exciting. I loved TV news reporting; just the fact that you could immortalise people.”
The concept of immortality via the pen of the writer and the eye of the TV camera has been on her mind of late, particularly with regard to her beloved Bishop Anstey High School. Her head is buzzing with the idea of creating a short film documenting the life of the school, and the many principals and school mistresses who have defined it. “I’d like to do an oral history, to teach the girls about their school via video, instead of having them learn through boring lectures. Imagine, if we had videos of Pat Bishop now, talking about her days at school, how that would impact the girls.” She dreams of capturing the faces and voices of generations for the future, not just for Bishops, but also for St. Francois Girls’, where she attended 6th Form. “To hear their voices...to see their reactions... only TV could do that.”
She has seen her share of media houses from the inside, having interned before graduation with TV6 and spending a few months at CNC3 before joining CNMG for 6 years. But after obtaining her Master’s in Political Journalism at Colombia University in New York, she returned to Trinidad and joined Guardian Media Limited.
For her, the result of these further studies is greater than simply better career opportunities; they helped define her as a writer and as a person. “Because of UWI, I had begun to think of myself as a West Indian as opposed to a Trinidadian. Now, I think of myself as a global citizen, as a journalist operating in Trinidad, but having an international responsibility and an international reach. In my mind, I think I am better able to position my country, where we stand, and what we can offer.”
Her job requires a lot of writing, to be sure, and a lot of reading, but after her student days of endlessly slogging through innumerable stories, articles and books, she has found respite in reading fiction. “I felt I was missing something. I opened myself to fiction in a way I had never done before.”
She’s content just to read, though, and hasn’t ventured into writing fiction, although she does keep a journal that she hopes will be a legacy to her future children. “I experience things, and feel I need to tell people about it.” She warns that it won’t be for public consumption, but her descendants are sure to get a kick out of her exploits.
For the time being, journalistic writing and news reporting are good enough for her. “I love TV... I can’t really see myself doing anything else.”