Catching up with Kevin Newman

Had lunch two weeks ago in Toronto with Kevin Newman, the Global National News anchor who walked away from his job last summer. I’ve always respected Newman’s integrity and judgement as a newsman. He takes his responsibility seriously and clings to a standard that is uncompromising.
He struck me that way when he was the guy reading the news on Midday 20 years ago at CBC. He has batted for the Canadian TV news cycle during a 30 year career, working in key roles at CBC, CTV and Global. Newman was mentored by some of the greats at ABC during a seven year stint in New York, where he became particularly close to Peter Jennings. The fellow Canadian gave Newman an American flag as a parting gift when the latter returned to Canada to host Global National. Newman still runs it up the flag pole every fourth of July.
All of that is well and good but catching up with Newman today has other rewards. Like many of us who have bounced around the media business for several years, he’s reinventing himself. New-man, get it?Newman’s great advantage, as he will freely admit, is he drew a handsome national news anchor salary the past decade at Global and–with his kids having graduated and on their own feet–was able to sock some of that away for this what-do-I-want-to-do-next raining day.
Still, he could have just kept taking the money and never acting on this itch he has to scratch. Good on him for seizing the day, it is a courageous thing to do.
The other good reason to have lunch with Kevin Newman is the feeling he’s on to something. You quickly get that he’s made a commitment to answer the question many of us are fumbling with: What’s next? What is our skill set and how will we fit in? I wish I had Newman money to throw at that one, but if you’re lucky enough to have lunch with him, pay close attention and try not to look like you’re picking his brain.
For more on Newman and what’s he’s up to today–and why he’s quite content to be watching this election from the sidelines–follow this link to this story I filed yesterday at The Canadian Press.

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