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Going from reporting in the field to polished and primped behind the anchor desk has been a dramatic shift for Dawna Friesen, anchor and executive editor for Global National. We recently had the chance to catch-up with Dawna and find out life as an anchor differs from foreign correspondence, how a typical day unfolds and the stories she thinks are underreported (and would love to work on!).

Follow her @DFriesenGlobal.

What is it like to anchor Global National after being a foreign correspondent for so many years of your career?

It has been a dramatic shift sitting at an anchor desk and editing a national newscast after years in the field as a foreign correspondent.  I’d be lying if I said it’s not quite as exciting. I thrive on lots of variety and feel hemmed in by routine, so having to sit down at exactly the same time every day with my hair all perfect and my clothes just right has taken some getting used to.  But it’s a different set of challenges.  I use my experience and insight to help choose and shape the stories we do and bring context to the newscast. I write and re-write sometimes even when I’m sitting on the set and we’re on the air, so I never stop trying to make the newscast better.

But if I could give up the make-up and the hair primping and wear boots and jeans that would be even better!

What does a typical day look like for you?

My day starts with an editorial conference call at 7 AM.  By then I’m aware of what’s going on in the world.  We run through how the day is shaping up and which stories to pursue and which to take a pass on.

We speak to all the reporters through the course of the morning to check in with what they’ve got and then have an editorial line-up meeting at 11:45 AM to talk through what we’re leading with and how the narrative of the newscast will go.  Then it’s writing and re-writing, deciding on headlines and graphics, and always keeping up with newsfeeds on Twitter and on all the news channels.  By 2:30 Pacific Time we are on the air for Atlantic Canada. We then update at 3:30 and 4:30 and 5:30PM for the other time zones, depending on news events.

What’s your number one tip for PR people?

I would ask PR people not to bombard journalists with emails because we’ll just send you straight to junk mail. When a TV reporter asks for help, try to think visually and facilitate more than just a news conference or press release.  The more visually intriguing it is the more response you’ll get.

Favourite story you’ve ever worked on?

I don’t have a favorite story, but I love travelling to the Middle East.  Syria is (was) one of the most beautiful and intriguing countries I’ve been to, and it’s tragic what is happening there. I miss being in that part of the world.

Dream story you’d love to work on?

I love the far north and would like to report on Canada’s arctic. The issues of climate change there, resource development and sovereignty are underreported.

Coffee or beer?

Depending on the time of day, coffee/ beer (Guinness)/ wine/ or a good cup of tea.

About Amanda Laird

Amanda Laird was Manager, Communications at Canada Newswire.

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