July 13, 2010 12:53 pm

Dawna Friesen named new Global National anchor


Dawna Friesen, an Emmy Award-winning journalist with a pedigree that spans both Canada and the world, will be the new anchor for Global National when she takes the reins from Kevin Newman this September.

Friesen, a Manitoba native who is currently a London-based correspondent for NBC News, worked at both CTV and CBC before joining the American network. With NBC, she covered some of the top international stories of the past decade unfolding from across the Middle East, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Russia, Europe and Africa.

"I’m honoured and excited by the opportunity to return to Canada as part of the Global National team,” said Friesen. “Kevin (Newman) and all the staff have created a rock-solid broadcast reputation, one that I want to preserve and develop. I can only hope to connect with Canadians the way he has. It’s a fantastic challenge that I am eager to take on."

In addition to her anchoring duties, Friesen will also be executive editor of Global National, Global News’ flagship early-evening newscast.

Born in Winnipeg and raised in rural Manitoba, Friesen began her news career in Canada in 1985, telling stories, learning the art of the interview and seeing her country from postings in Portage La Prairie, Brandon, Saskatoon and Thunder Bay. She went on to work as a correspondent and anchor for both CBC and CTV at the national level in Ottawa, Vancouver and Toronto, covering a wide range of health, economic and political issues, and also serving as a senior parliamentary correspondent.

As the London-based correspondent and anchor for NBC News, Today and MSNBC since 1999, Friesen has covered some of the most compelling events of the 21st century: the fall of Iraq and the war on terror, the struggle to bring peace to Afghanistan, the abduction and murder of journalist Daniel Pearl and the search for suspects in 2004’s Madrid bombings. Friesen’s work earned her a 2009 Emmy for her part in team coverage of Barack Obama’s U.S. Presidential victory.

“Dawna has inspired the trust and confidence of interview subjects, audiences and colleagues around the world,” said Troy Reeb, Canwest Broadcasting’s senior vice president for news and current affairs. “Her strength as a communicator and a news leader will truly resonate with Canadians.”

Today’s announcement puts a final coda on Kevin Newman’s tenure as the face and voice of Global National, which he helped create in the fall of 2001. Newman announced in April he was leaving the show for “rest and creative renewal.”

Newman’s last newscast will be Aug. 20. Substitute anchors will helm the show until Friesen debuts in September.

Newman said his dream for Global National was to build a show that “is respected as one of the finest sources of national news in Canada.” Its ratings have seen solid growth in the past year, and it consistently tops 1 million viewers for each of its 5:30 p.m. newscasts.

“I know Dawna Friesen is the right person to help the dream thrive,” Newman added. “She is an accomplished journalist which ensures she will continue the tradition of having a hands-on and engaged anchor. And I am certain viewers will quickly discover her qualities as a welcome friend at 5:30."

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