At nine years old, Bavita Gopaulchan knew she was going to be a journalist. After a deeply traumatic occurrence for her family, where the ordeal covered was misrepresented by the media, she understood the power harnessed by every journalist to either bring awareness to victims’ stories or to make people victims themselves of negative press. From that tender age, Gopaulchan made herself a promise, to hold that journalistic power dear to her heart and execute her dream job with utmost integrity. Her dreams are realised, she now serves as a senior producer at CNC3 and is also the midday news anchor.
Born as the last child of three in a humble community in Longdenville, Chaguanas, Gopaulchan attended faith-based primary and secondary schools and credits these school cultures for helping form her character, grounded in spirituality and moulded by key values. While going to UWI to pursue another of her passions–Linguistics–she kept the dream of working in the media alive. Things began to align one day while she was in the temple, and she got a call from a radio station inviting her to come in to discuss a position in broadcasting.
“I remember the iconic anchors of my childhood, like Roger Sant and Shelly Dass,” Gopaulchan recalls, “I used to take perfume bottles and pretend I was anchoring like them.” After landing the initial role on the radio, she was told that she had “a voice for radio but a face for television”, prompting her to dive deeper into the possibility of being on-screen. Eventually, she joined IETV as an anchor, soaking up the challenges and excitement that being a first-time anchor held. Becoming an anchor was the first instalment of fulfilling her two-part dream of working in the media.
The second element of this two-part dream was to work at CNC3. After spending some time at IETV, she auditioned at CNC3 and was hired. “Sometimes it’s unbelievable,” she muses, “Here I am at the station I wanted to work at my entire life.” The process of finding the stories is just as fulfilling for Gopaulchan as telling the stories. Remembering her most powerful story was easy for her, as three years ago someone called the newsroom to encourage the station to interview a mother in Toco, desperately impoverished and in need of help.
Believing that highlighting her story could garner her the support she needed, Gopaulchan rounded up a cameraman and headed to Toco, ready to render all the help she could. When they arrived, trekking through a mud track to get to the house, the woman’s living conditions were very difficult, and she had no electricity or water in a one-bedroom board house with her three children. The real shock for Gopaul, however, was when the woman opened the door. There she was, “with the brightest smile I’ve ever seen, welcoming me and ushering me inside”.
Although faced with these various challenges, the subject of the interview remained endlessly cheerful and grateful for all she had, still feeling blessed to have a roof to cover her family’s heads and love to sustain them. “I’ve never prayed so hard over any story I’ve covered,” she says, remembering her own family being misrepresented many years before, “I needed guidance to relay that story honourably and authentically.” Donations poured in as soon as the story aired, and Gopaulchan still stays in touch with the woman from Toco after all these years.
“I love being an anchor,” she reflects, “because every day, people invite me into their homes.” The process can be hectic, as during the day she transforms from her role as producer to anchor and then back again. But for Gopaulchan, the hectic schedule feels worthwhile when people approach her in public saying, “I have lunch with you!”
She feels honoured to connect so closely with the station’s viewers and to garner public trust in her presentation of the news. Gopaulchan, however, has a deep dark secret. “I’m painfully shy and reserved,” and her relatives and close friends are always shocked that she went from being too timid to walk into rooms with 20 people, to effectively speaking in front of thousands every day. Her natural state as an introvert is in direct opposition to her career, but she remains charged with the responsibility she accepted as a nine year old to bravely speak out for people who do not have the opportunity to speak for themselves.
As a senior producer and anchor at CNC3, Bavita Gopaulchan is the guardian of the newscast and does not take her role lightly. She keeps her ear firmly pressed to the ground to ensure she is abreast of the issues relevant to the public. “I listen, I observe, and I learn,” she says, “I use my platform to bridge gaps and formulate digestible stories that people want to hear.” What’s next for Gopaulchan? After fulfilling her bipartite dream of being an anchor, and a media woman at CNC3, she is basking in her realisation of the dream. She wants to continue to learn the fundamentals from the stalwarts in the media industry while also staying in tune with new trends that she learns from the younger people in the industry. Channelling her knowledge into excellent media products, she hopes to continue to be a driving force at CNC3, making the station even better, year after year.