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Kevin Newman

dave chan The Globe and Mail

Kevin Newman

Profession: Journalist and Founder of NewMan Media Ltd.

Age: 51

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Hometown: Toronto

Notable achievements: National correspondent for CBC and CTV news before moving to the United States to work as a news anchor and correspondent for ABC News; Anchored Global National news from 2001-2010; Won two Gemini awards for best news anchor (2005 and 2006); Won Emmy awards for his breaking news coverage of the death of Princess Diana and ABC's Millennium Night Coverage

Upcoming: Narrates, co-produced and co-wrote two documentaries for Global Television to appear in May: A Mother's Ordeal, May 6 at 10 p.m. and Execution Under Fire, May 13 at 10 p.m.; On June 13, he'll receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Western Ontario

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Kevin Newman is a familiar face on TV in Canada and the United States. He co-anchored ABC's Good Morning America before moving back to Canada to anchor Global National in 2001. But after nearly a decade, he jumped ship.

Although Newman has owned several brands of cars over the years, he has no plans to dump his 2007 Toyota 4Runner.

Why did you a buy a Toyota 4Runner?

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I had always pined for a truck and never really could convince myself that I really needed a truck, so this was the closest I could get that could fit the whole family.

It was the first Toyota I ever owned and to be honest they had a great reputation for quality, but it was mostly a gut thing; I liked the shape of the grille. I liked that it had a hood scoop. I liked that I had to climb into it as opposed to slip into it. And it felt hefty.

Are you a gear head - do you know what's under the hood?

I'm not a huge gear head - I have to admit that. But it has a V-6, about 160 hp, I know that.

It's got 4WD that's sort of old school. You have to slow down to engage it. You don't have to twist the knob, but it saved me many, many times getting out of snow drifts. It does really well on ice and that's what I appreciate most about it.

What does a Toyota 4Runner say about you?

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It's probably more aspiration than anything else. Sometimes you buy a vehicle that says please take me to places that I need to be.

I think that's why I bought this one. It was saying, 'Get out of the city, get me muddy, get lots of bugs on the windshield.' I probably bought it as a clarion call to the wilderness.

Now, has it been heard enough? I'd have to say not. Unfortunately it's mostly an urban drive.

What was your first car?

My first car I bought when I was 17. It was a Ford Mustang.

I worked at McDonald's a lot. It was about four years old when I bought it. When it was carried away to the junkyard I unscrewed the shifter knob and I've had it in the glove compartment of every vehicle I've owned since as a good-luck charm. Every once in a while I can reach in and put that shifter knob from my first car in the palm of my hand and remember what it was like to shift it.

Was it a three-in-the-tree?

No that was the year before - it was on the floor.

It was cool. It was substantial. I don't know whether people still learn how to drive a stick. I would say half of the cars I've owned in my life have been standard just because I like that feeling.

I was trying to keep it on the road any way that I could. It had holes in the floorboards that were stuffed with newspapers to stop the winter from going through to our feet. At the end, I didn't know what to do with it. It sat in the parking lot at Global TV in Toronto for an entire winter because I couldn't afford to fix it. I just asked a guy if he would take it away for two cases of beer and he did. And there it went. That's when I took the shifter knob off.

What else have you owned?

After that, I got a Mazda GLC.

Then, when I met my wife, we bought this weird two-door Volkswagen Fox that was made in Mexico. It was like a two-door mini-station wagon. It didn't last very long. It was a lemon. It rusted out very fast; it wasn't built for Canadian climate with salt on the road.

Then we bought a Honda Accord. We're not really loyal car manufacturer people. We tend to jump around.

Do you like driving?

I love driving. There are many times in my life when I've just gone and driven for a couple of days just to be with my own thoughts. I'm a very happy driver.

Any accidents or speeding tickets?

No serious accidents. Speeding tickets, oh yeah.

Not once have they let me off. I'm a guy. Guys don't get off on speeding tickets. I don't even argue. If I was speeding, I was speeding. I'm guilty.

What do you listen to on the road?

I go through various music. We have a cottage that I drive to often so there's a bit of a routine. It's quite loud as I leave the city as I feel the freedom the music sort of softens. Interestingly enough after I've had time at the cottage when I drive home, I don't have the music on at all.

So there's a routine - if I need to de-stress, the music is loud. If I'm relaxed, I don't put any on at all. I just like the sound of the road.

How long do you plan to keep the 4Runner?

I like to keep it as long as I can. It's a forever vehicle for me. It's not one I want to flip easily. It's so useful and comfortable. I just feel great in it.

If I could bring you the keys to any vehicle what would it be?

My friend has one of those Subaru WRXs. That has the right mix of torque, practicality and you're not embarrassed to park it in your driveway. I like a little less finesse; a little more blue-collar.

Who taught you how to drive a stick?

My mother. It was ugly at first, but I still love it. My mom knew how to drive a stick. I don't even know if my dad did.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

pgentile@globeandmail.com

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