Kevin Rollason was in elementary school when he decided he wanted to be a writer. He was in high school when he came to the realization that it’s pretty hard to put food on the table if you’re a writer in Canada.
By university he had decided he could write – and put food on the table – if he became a journalist. More than two decades later he has eaten several meals – and written numerous stories – by working for the Winnipeg Free Press.
A product of southwestern Ontario’s banana belt – where no bananas grow and the terrain is flat – Kevin had no problem adapting to the Prairies around Winnipeg, where no bananas grow and the terrain is flat. Even the cold has never bothered him: he tells his relatives that with the humidity around Lake Erie it actually feels colder down there than out in Winnipeg.
Before getting a real job, Kevin was elected editor of The Lance, the University of Windsor’s student newspaper, helped out with numerous ethnic student association newspapers there, received a Bachelor of Social Studies degree in Communications Studies at the University of Windsor, founded a graduate newspaper at the University of Western Ontario, and graduated with an Masters of Arts in Journalism from the University of Western Ontario.
Applying for an internship at the Winnipeg Free Press, Kevin was turned down, but still came to Winnipeg anyway to spend a cold winter month at the Winnipeg Sun. When the editors there discovered he could write on his first day, he ended up being assigned to cover Steve Fonyo, resulting in him getting the paper’s main story on his first day in journalism and leading to him hired by that newspaper a few months later after graduating.
After getting several scoops at that paper as its city hall reporter and columnist, the Free Press wisely decided to hire him – but not before turning him down one more time because there were no openings.
Since being hired, Kevin has been the Free Press’ Law Courts reporter, City Hall reporter, and general assignment reporter where his specialty has become aviation incidents, obituary stories and articles about charity and philanthropy. He has now helmed the paper’s annual Pennies from Heaven campaign for several years.
Kevin shared a win for a citation of merit from the National Newspaper Awards in 2005 for coverage of the fatal crash of a Fedex plane in Winnipeg. During his career he has also received a Golden Hand Award from Volunteer Manitoba, as well as honours for his articles from Thompson Newspapers, the Society for Manitobans with Disabilities, and the Huntington Disease Association.
Kevin was lauded by the Canadian Newspaper Association’s annual Great Ideas category in 2009, for his annual end-of-year obituary feature.
In his private life, Kevin launched a constitutional challenge against the federal government over his loss of employment insurance benefits based on his daughter’s disabilities – and was ultimately successful, helping numerous others with disabilities across the country. Kevin is also a past president of the Winnipeg Press Club and has sat on several other community boards.
Kevin is married to Gail and has two children, Sarah and Mary.