Anchor and Executive Editor
Award-winning journalist Dawna Friesen ushered in a new era at Global National as its second anchor and executive editor on September 20, 2010.
Prior to joining Global National, Dawna served as NBC’s foreign correspondent and anchor in London for 11 years. Appearing on NBC News, Today and MSNBC, she travelled extensively covering many international news stories, including the Israeli Palestinian conflict and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
While Saddam Hussein was still in power, Dawna had the chance to spend time in Iraq, followed by several months in neighbouring Egypt and Jordan in the lead up to the war, returning after the American-led attack on Iraq to report extensively on the country’s slow descent into chaos.
Dawna spent months in Pakistan, travelling to the tribal territories, covering the kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in Karachi. She was in Belgrade after the fall of Slobodan Milosevic and has spent time in Russia covering, among other things, the siege of a theatre by Chechen rebels in 2002, the Beslan school massacre and was in Madrid after the train bombings there in 2004 – travelling on to Morocco following the trail of the bombing suspects.
She’s provided inside coverage of every election in Britain in the past decade, returned to Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Olympics as part of NBC’s team covering the games and won an Emmy award for her part in NBC’s coverage of the night Barack Obama was elected president of the United States.
With an eclectic mix of feature stories all over Europe and the Middle East, including more stories on Britain’s royal family than she can count, she has, among other things, interviewed Elvis Presley’s distant relatives in Scotland, had exclusive access to the newly-cleaned sculpture of Michelangelo’s David in Florence, Italy, and went live on Today from the North Pole region when the Svalbard Global Seed Vault was opened.
Before NBC, Dawna worked in Toronto at CTV as a national correspondent, anchor and back-up host for Canada AM. In addition, she served as a parliamentary reporter in CTV’s Ottawa bureau, and as a reporter and anchor for CBC-TV in Vancouver.
Dawna began her journalism career in 1985 at a newspaper in Portage la Prairie before moving on to radio and television stations in Brandon, Saskatoon, Thunder Bay and Winnipeg. Born in Winnipeg, Dawna grew up on a farm in Manitoba and graduated with a degree in communications from Red River College. In 1993, she received a Southam Fellowship for Journalists from the University of Toronto and in 2009 The Distinguished Alumni Award from Red River College.
Just weeks before starting her second year at Global National, Dawna was bestowed with the 2011 Gemini Award for Canada’s best news anchor. The Geminis honour the best in Canadian television.
When she’s not in the office, Dawna enjoys staying up to date on world events, reading, gardening, cooking, and of course, spending time with her son.