I am grateful most of all to the generations of Utahns who have invited me into their homes each night. —Bruce Lindsay
SALT LAKE CITY — Bruce Lindsay was a home-movie geek growing up — and not a very good one, he admits.
Fascinated with a new gift of a wind-up movie camera, he documented the neighborhood happenings, family vacations or Boy Scout river trips and in the process stumbled into what would become a life passion — chronicling the stories in people's lives.
Lindsay, 61, announced Monday he is retiring from his news storytelling career that has spanned more than three decades at KSL-TV anchoring evening newscasts. Lindsay said he plans to stay on until June.
"What I don't plan to do is take up golf," he said. "I plan to be productively engaged in something. I will be happy to be on the day side of somewhere, something. What it is I don't know."
Lindsay said it's time for him to start spending evenings at home. The years and years of night shifts have been a challenge and presented a bit of a juggling act among he and his wife, Shari, and their six children.
It was while Lindsay was still in high school that he realized he could take his love of visually capturing stories and the craft of writing and turn them into a job in a newsroom. The ah-hah moment came, ironically, with a school visit by then-KSL anchor Dick Nourse, who regaled students with broadcast experiences in Vietnam.
"I told him I was going to have a job like his," Lindsay said. "This is someone who takes pictures, shoots films, does public speaking and writing. It all played into what I was interested in."
It would be a few short years later that Lindsay took a job at KSL as a $2-an-hour intern. After a brief stint in Los Angeles at a news station there, he returned to KSL to be Nourse's co-anchor.
His assignments have taken him to foreign countries and had him chronicling Utah's bid to land the 2002 Winter Games, stories he said he was honored to follow. Even though there have been dozens of trips to exotic locales, Lindsay said he counts among his best memories the early days he spent on the road in Utah in tucked-away corners featuring glimpses of ordinary people.
Over the years, Lindsay admits he has had to struggle with being by nature a private and rather shy person who happens to have a high-visibility public career that demands a certain level of outgoing behavior.
"When I studied journalism, I never really thought about that aspect of visibility and how it plays into your life. That was not the motivation. My bones don't resonate to that," he said. "I wanted to be a storyteller and after I got back behind the desk, a communicator."
His wife, Shari, said she had to coax him along over time to realize that recognition on the street is something to accept with grace, not shy away from uncomfortably.
"He's a real private person," she said. "He's really friendly, funny and kind and all of that, but he does not seek attention from people. ... I think what Bruce is is a good writer. He likes to write, to be accurate, fair and articulate. All those things are important to him."
Lindsay has a reputation in the newsroom for being a stickler when it comes to the quality of stories he is willing to deliver to people's homes via the newscasts.
"I have howled before," he said, when a story has been incomplete, or just not worthy of airtime.
"There is a huge misconception that it is the 'face' that chooses every single story," he said, pointing out that producers, reporters, management and others craft the mix of news that goes into the line-up.
"Once it gets to me, I own every story. I've looked at it, edited it and checked on the who, what, when or why or if something is clearly missing in terms of balance."
He said those stories have to meet a certain threshold, because at the end of the day, he's helping to relay the details.
"That is all I have is my reputation and my credibility."
On Monday, after his retirement was announced, the newsroom was a mix of tears and congratulatory remarks.
"Bruce is one-of-a-kind, irreplaceable. Whether in the field or behind the desk, his work exemplifies the best in the business," said Tanya Vea, executive vice president of News and Cross Platform Development for KSL Broadcast Group. "We're looking to take the high quality and success that Bruce brought into KSL over the years and build on that for the future."
Said Mark Willes, chief executive officer and president of Deseret Media Companies and KSL Broadcast Group, "Bruce is a true professional and has been a trusted voice in this community for more than three decades. We deeply appreciate his years of service and contributions."
KSL officials said a nationwide search is under way for Lindsay's successor.