Fayola KJ Fraser
A senior reporter/producer at CNC3 and the weekend news anchor, Dareece Polo has had many years of experience in the media but is a fresh face on the newscast. Polo, believing that “I didn’t choose media, media chose me”, pursued her career as an extension of her bold and fearless personality. “I was always a public speaker and unafraid of sharing my opinions,” she says, with the conviction that it was these core attributes that swayed her away from her initial ideas of pursuing medicine and psychology and nudged her towards the media.
Polo was raised in a rural community in Moruga, where the issues of her community were not highlighted or well-known by the public, leaving the community to cope on its own. She described the way that they felt shut out from the wider public narrative, and issues such as lack of running water, and terrible road access were never brought to light, and therefore, never improved. It is these circumstances of the community during her upbringing that have shaped her dedication to telling stories of the voiceless and marginalised in society. Leading with the heart, Polo aims to use the media as a channel to ensure that all people can have their problems highlighted with compassion and integrity at the centre.
Following her Associate Degree in Journalism and Public Relations at COSTAATT, Polo began working at CL Communications (IETV) in 2015. The transition from schooling to the profession, however, was not as seamless as she hoped. For her first story, she was tasked with writing a press release, and “had no idea what she was doing”, taking a full day to complete it. She grew more confident as time went by and gained more experience. To hone her skills, she pursued a Bachelor of Arts at COSTAATT in Mass Communications.
In 2019, Polo’s career took an exciting turn, taking her to the shores of Ecuador, where she worked as an assistant programme editor and an anchor at an English television station.
She described this period as deeply enriching, even during the throes of COVID-19, and her career standout story happened in Ecuador. Being unable to come home due to borders being closed and COVID-19 restrictions she immersed herself into the country. While innocently making her way about in public transport, there was a public demonstration about the increasing prices of fuel that became violent. A military vehicle was deployed by the Government to ensure protesters would not reach the President, and Polo witnessed the bombing of that vehicle by protesters with Molotov cocktails. “As a civilian, it was scary to be in the midst of a pushback for the first time,” she remembers, “but as a reporter, it was any journalist’s dream”. Not being from the country or Latin America more generally, she felt she imbibed a truly diplomatic, nuanced perspective into her writing of the story, making it a memorable highlight in her career.
Reintegrating into the culture of the T&T media after her time in Ecuador was smooth for Polo, as she stayed abreast of our news and media. The greater challenge has been her recent transition into anchoring, which has come with some new nerves. She is focused on being a champion of the truth, a person the public can trust, and “not only telling the story, but understanding the story, the emotions, and telling the public what is important about it”. Although Polo has not been an anchor for a long time, people call out to her on the streets, and even when they don’t know her name, they shout out “CNC3!” Polo considers this as a representation that she is connecting with viewers, and remains focused not on being seen, but on telling stories that matter.
Aside from her talent in the media, Polo harnesses a secret talent, her ‘sweet han’! A self-proclaimed “food lover”, she finds joy in trying new foods–with the disclaimer that the only thing she won’t eat is something that is still alive. During the pandemic in Ecuador, being far from home, her family and loved ones, Polo used cooking and experimenting with foods as a way to cope with the difficult period and also to connect with home.
What’s her best dish? A creamy shrimp Alfredo, bursting with flavour, filled with fresh herbs and a secret ingredient. Contrary to her line of work as a reporter, in which an uncovered secret is breaking public information, Polo holds this particular secret close to her chest.
A new face on CNC3’s newscast but a stalwart in the kitchen, Dareece Polo is making her rise in the industry. She has a unique commitment to developing stories and is working to ensure voices from all corners of the country are magnified.