“In the West we would put a photo on the front page and say, ‘This is the bloke you’ve got to hate.’ But it’s not within the culture here to back people into corners. You don’t do it.”

In December, as Newland and his family prepared for a Christmas holiday in France, he and I grabbed a few minutes to chat in his stark white office. As he hunched in his desk chair, behind a green sign that read, “The beatings will continue until morale improves,” I found it difficult to believe he was having much fun in this job. “I am incredibly tired,” he says, ignoring the ringing BlackBerry on his desk. “Ten years, six proprietors, three continents, two mass newspaper launches, and one mass newspaper edit.”

The punishing hours—and maybe the balancing act—have taken their toll. Deep bags sagged under Newland’s dark eyes and his skin matched the walls in his office. He was smartly dressed in a well-cut suit and looked fit, but he was a far cry from the weightlifting “testosterone man” they used to call him behind his back at the National Post. “Look,” he says, “it’s a different sort of job here and I suppose you could call me a bit of a whore, but you shift according to the chair. The game is still journalism. It’s still finding things out. And I won’t lie—the most compelling thing about it is playing politics. That’s the rush.” 

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Andrew Mills is a freelance journalist based in Beirut.