More about Kevin Newman, who has a new project in mind…

12 05 2010

In a recent blog entry, I had mentioned the fact that Kevin Newman, the anchor of Global National for the past decade, is stepping down from his position. In that entry, I expressed my hope that Kevin will return to journalism after some much-deserved time off.

However, it seems that Kevin has other plans for his coming years. The other day, he wrote about his plans for the future. The original version can be found here. This was the first time Newman commented about his future since the announcement of his final newscast as Global National anchor, which will be on August 20. You can also read comments about this via that link.

Kevin, all the best of luck to you on your new venture!

My thanks to for the original posting of Kevin Newman’s comments.


Posted by Kevin Newman on Monday, May 10, 2010

Last month I chucked it all, which is not like me. As long as I can remember I’ve had a plan, every careful step in my career taken with an eye to the step beyond it. But this time I acted in self-defence because a beast that’s been chasing me for almost 20 years is closing in. I don’t like running. It’s time I confronted it full on.

I was 33 in 1993 when I first noticed it. I was co-hosting a CBC noontime magazine show called Midday, and one of the producers called me over to his computer where the green letters on the grey screen were inviting people to come onto the show to discuss their experiences in an undiscovered landscape called the internet. In those days most users relied on AOL to organize content on multiple “channels”; there were no search engines, and the portal to the World Wide Web required an ability to understand programming language once you walked through it. The web was no place for a guy like me. We did the panel discussion with three pioneering web surfers and the questions I posed are laughable in hindsight. I had to explain what “this thing called the internet” was to our viewers, asking, “Is it cult-like? Does it pull you in and you can’t get out?” Maybe that wasn’t such a bad question after all.

Here I am in 2010 and that beast burst through the door long ago, unleashing creative chaos and devouring the jobs of 5,200 journalists in North America last year, according to the Pew Research Center in Washington. Members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery have migrated to Twitter to build on one another’s reporting because there are too few left to tackle all the angles of a story. Once-competitive TV newsrooms are now sharing video and resources because they’re too weakened to cover the news on their own. And no one has figured out a reasonable defence other than to create decoys in the internet realm to try to slow the beast down. And what’s this about a “cloud” where it will live and grow forever without any physical connection to wires and machines? Game over.

Weaponless, full of fear, and having heard no strategy that made sense to me for confronting the beast, I started seeking potential allies outside of media and found them in Waterloo: a world-class group of entrepreneurs who stopped fighting the intruding internet years ago and sought to understand, respect and exploit it. They offered me a creative shelter and the opportunity to learn and shape a defence for my tribe of content producers. So Monday and Tuesday at a conference called Canada 3.0, we’ll explore ways to fund businesses, incubate ideas and share our cultural expression in the all-around-us web that’s approaching. (Blogger’s note: the Canada 3.0 conference was held this past Monday and Tuesday) Engineers, software developers, academics, government agencies and “creatives” are coming together not to build a defence from the beast, but to find ways of thriving within it.

Seventeen years after my innocent “cult” question, it’s obvious what I was sensing was the beginning of a revolution that would bring (as revolutions always do) chaos to order. So a little more than a week ago I faced a choice: spend my final productive decade sitting at a desk amid the chaos, or jump out from behind it to understand and maybe be part of building a new order. Once that choice became clear, the fear of a 33-year-old became the opportunity for a 50-year-old to feel vital again. Game on.




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