By Deardra Shuler
It must be her youthful drive and exuberance that keeps FOX 5s Good Day New York morning traffic anchor, Stacy-Ann Gooden, cruising through her day. With a schedule that could stop traffic, somehow Gooden manages to put mettle to the pedal and stay in gear even though she has to get up at 1:00 a.m. in the morning to do it.
"I have started to do packaging, so recently my normal day has been extended and I now get home around 11:30 a.m. I try to find the strength within myself and take naps during the day," claims the inexhaustible Ms. Gooden. "I do have weekends off, but my husband and I predominantly stay home, although we may go out to dinner or catch a movie. I love television but rarely have the time to watch it so I TiVo everything these days."
Born in Jamaica, Gooden’s family moved to Flatbush, Brooklyn in the 1980s when she was six years old. "I presently live in Nassau County but I still have a lot of family remaining in Jamaica, WI. Moving to the States was a huge cultural shock and as a result I was very shy and introverted growing up. By high school, I deemed I wanted to be a lawyer. Even though I was an English major in college, my focus was law but by my senior year, I wasn’t so certain I wanted to be a lawyer. So, I decided to take an internship at a local news station on Long Island." Stacy-Ann found her calling at the news station and quickly broke out of her shell. She served as a traffic reporter for Metro Traffic & Weather on Long Island and worked with the News 12 Networks in Woodbury, New York.
It wasn’t just broadcasting that helped Gooden develop confidence and poise but rather her earlier exposure to the world of beauty pageantry. Modeling helped pay her college tuition. She graced the pages of YM and The Source before winning the crown and title of Ms. New York American United States in 2002. She also won second place as a semi-finalist in the Miss Jamaica Universe Pageant (2002) as well as became the second runner-up for Miss New York USA (2004). "When I won the pageants I was able to do a lot of charity work. I worked with September 11th charity fundraisers and worked with the Leukemia Lymphoma Society. We toured and appeared on radio and TV," explained the charming reporter. "The pageants helped me learn poise and definitely helped me with my shyness. Especially since, during the interview process for Miss Jamaica Universe, we had to walk in front of a panel of eight judges in our swim suits. I even learned some taping tricks in order to ‘uplift’ myself,’" chuckled Stacy-Ann in a good natured tongue-n-cheek fashion. "The first time, I did the Miss New York USA pageant I was trembling and tense. But the second time, I did well. I was able to get up in front of hundreds of people in my swimsuit and still conduct myself in an assured, self aware and poised manner. Although everyone has insecurities, you can learn how to get through them" remarked the beautiful news anchor.
"I really lucked out in broadcasting because I began in the New York market. Most reporters strive to come to New York. I did send my tapes and resumes everywhere including to Jamaica, however after I interviewed at FOX 5, I was hired as a traffic reporter. Initially, I thought I wanted to get into news/entertainment reporting and my mentor suggested I go into a smaller market and work my way back to New York. However, I followed my intuition and opted to go with traffic and stay in New York. It’s a good thing, because here I am now at Channel 5, WNYW-FOX5 and I love it. Everyone here is great. I love working with Jodi Applegate, Chris Gailus, Penny Crone and Mike Woods. I started in July 2004 and was pretty fresh. I didn’t know what to expect, but my co-workers, though seasoned people, have been very welcoming. We wear different hats, sometimes serious and sometimes we just hang out and have fun."
Traffic reporting entails learning the roads and major highways in and around the Tri State area. It entails learning how to read maps, taking the occasional aerial trip to get a good grasp and knowledge of the roadways. It also requires the ability to ad lib and think on one’s feet. "There is no sure fire way to explain how one reports traffic," explained the lively traffic reporter. "It’s something that you learn as you go along. When I was a news reporter in New Jersey working for Time Warner Cable, there was a set way in which I had to write news copy which primarily had to be direct and to the point. When you do traffic reporting, there are no teleprompters to read. So you have to ad lib and explain the traffic situation in a way that is very conversational and personable. I don’t just report traffic. I try to pull viewers in and tell them what else is going on that may affect how they get around the city. For example, if an event is happening somewhere in the city on a particular day that could impact traffic, I let travelers know what to expect. This also applies to those that take mass transit. It’s my job to report traffic conditions and give alternative modes of transport to make it easier for commuters to go about their day."
Married, without children, Gooden loves to workout and when time allows, she tutors youth in English and Spanish. However, one of Ms. Gooden’s proudest accomplishments was graduating St John’s University magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in English. She went on to pursue a master’s degree in Spanish, traveling abroad and studying in Spain for a few summers. "I loved Spain and its culture. I tried to go there and set aside my American values and totally embrace the Spanish culture. I was amazed how well the Spanish people know the American culture. They really love Americans. In terms of school though, I am just one test away from getting my master’s degree but I have to work, so it’s kind of slow going," declared Stacy-Ann.
"I always say to myself"this too shall pass!" Whenever something negative happens in life, I feel it’s meant to be," says Stacy-Ann of her philosophy in life. "I know those negative things in life will pass and something good will come. I have an idea where I want to go in life and I know that all I have to do is wait for it to happen because I believe that when one door closes another door opens."
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