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Alumni Engagement

Going Places 2011: Dawna Friesen

January 1, 2011

Dawna Friesen, National News Anchor
Global National
1984, Creative Communications

Global National News anchor Dawna Friesen has come a long way since her days as a Red River College student.

In fact, Friesen’s distinguished career as a television journalist has taken her all over the world — from rural Manitoba to a foreign correspondent’s gig in the U.K., to her current position, which finds her delivering the news to hundreds of thousands of Canadian households each evening.

“It’s Red River College that launched me on the road to where I am today,” says Friesen, who in 2009 was named one of RRC’s Distinguished Alumni.

“The same basic principles I learned at school … are still the same basic story-telling skills I use today: getting the facts right, double-sourcing, diligence, patience, and of course having a few laughs along the way.”

Friesen graduated from RRC’s Creative Communications program in 1984, and began her journalism career working in Brandon, Saskatoon, Thunder Bay and Winnipeg. She’s been interested in journalism ever since she was a young girl growing up on a farm outside Winnipeg.

“My parents always used to read the newspaper and watch CBC News, and the radio was always on in the background in the kitchen — either on CJOB or CBC — so I was exposed to news at a very young age,” says Friesen, who is also an executive editor of Global National.

“I was interested in current events, and in the world, and I realized I wanted to tell stories. Plus I always wanted to travel, so journalism seemed a kind of natural fit.”

Friesen went on to work as a reporter (and later, anchor) at CBC News and CBC Newsworld. Following that, she worked at CTV’s Toronto bureau as a national news correspondent and at Ottawa’s CTV branch, where she covered federal elections.

While working in Toronto in 1999, she was offered a position with NBC, as a foreign correspondent based out of London. After signing with the network, she also reported for NBC’s Nightly News with Brian Williams, The Today Show, and MSNBC.

With NBC, Friesen covered some of the decade’s top international stories as they unfolded from across the Middle East, Russia, Europe and Africa, including 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 even earned her a 2009 Emmy for her part in team coverage of Barack Obama’s U.S. Presidential victory.

In July 2010, Friesen was appointed the new evening anchor for Global National News. She returned to Red River College a few months later, as part of a cross-Canada tour timed to coincide with the appointment.

Click here to learn more about RRC’s Creative Communications program.