She’s the new face of Global National, and broadcaster Dawna Friesen is making history in the process. Friesen, a former foreign correspondent with NBC, became Global National’s news anchor and executive editor last month — making her Canada’s first full-time female news anchor. Friesen is taking her newscast on the road and Metro caught up with her in Halifax.
There’s been a lot of fanfare leading to you taking on this position — your face on billboards. How do you feel about this attention?
My mother called me on the weekend and said, “You’re not going to be able to hide anywhere now. Everybody has seen your face” — as if I was on the verge of committing some criminal act and now I can’t (laughing). But no, it’s a bit daunting, all of that, and that’s not my favourite part of the job — put it that way. It kind of goes with the territory, but I’ve seen enough of myself now. And my head really isn’t that big.
What about being the first female national news anchor in Canada?
I haven’t played that really big. That, to me, is kind of neither here or there, which I know maybe isn’t the answer people want to hear.
Do you think expectations would be the same if you were a man?
I think there’s probably more scrutiny about the way I look than there is about Peter (Mansbridge) or Lloyd (Robertson).
How does that make you feel?
It’s annoying. I wish it didn’t happen. It has nothing to do with the way I do my work, or conduct myself, or how good I am at what I do. It bugs me.
When you have a couple hours to yourself, how do you unwind?
Read. I’d like to read more than I do now … I’d (also) like to get back into cross-country skiing. Just more outdoor stuff.
When you and your partner Tom Kennedy (of CTV News) sit down for dinner, is the news discussed all the time?
No way (laughing). It’s the last thing. And we hardly watch TV, either.