Writing Clearly

Writing clearly & concisely

People often don’t think clearly about what they want to say. Lazy thinking produces fuzzy writing. English novelist and journalist George Orwell provided six rules for clear and concise writing that can improve your letters, articles, leaflets, speeches, and news releases. The points below are adapted from Orwell’s essay, Politics and …

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Working a Room

Meeting others is something that we all know how to do. But in public life you meet hundreds of
people, often in groups or in crowded rooms. The secret is to establish a personal link with each person, even in the briefest of encounters.

Your handshake should be brief and firm, but the grip should not …

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Responding to the Media

Taking media calls

Reporters may call for your reaction to comments or events. At times these may be cold calls, asking you to respond to something that you have not heard about. The stakes can be high, so be sure to negotiate the interview. You can respond immediately (if you feel prepared), or promise to call …

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Relaxation Technique

In preparing for a speech, news conference, interview or any public event, take time to find
somewhere to spend a few minutes to relax and get centered.

You can do this in a vehicle, a studio waiting room, a washroom, even on a chair in a crowded

Sit comfortably with your hands hanging loosely at your …

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Preparing a News Release

The timing of a release should be sensitive to news deadlines.

You need a headline, a date, a release date (usually Immediate) and a dateline (the location from where it originates).

Keep releases short (one page). Add biographical information or a Backgrounder on a second page
if needed. Put the most important information near the top of …

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Performing in Debates

The decision about whether to attend an all-candidates’ debate (if you are in a political campaign) is
a strategic one, but usually you should do it – voters and media expect it, and it gives you a chance to shine.

During the debate, strive to be the most reasonable person in the studio (or room).

Be courteous …

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Truth to Power: The Journalism of a Benedictine Monk

Kingsley Publishing (2010)
This book, introduced and edited by Dennis Gruending, presents the best from twenty years of provocative journalism by Father Andrew Britz, a Benedictine monk at St. Peter’s Abbey in the hinterland of rural Saskatchewan, far from the centres of …

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Women priests, Pope Benedict’s visit to Britain

By Dennis Gruending

When Pope Benedict XVI pays a visit to England and Scotland on September 16-19, poster advertisements taken out on London buses will say “Pope Benedict – Ordain Women Now!” Father Stephen Wang, the dean of studies at London’s main seminary for Catholic priests, published a semi-official defence against that request in a column that was carried by Catholic websites throughout Britain and on his own blog. The American television network CNN also interviewed Wang. He says that that Pope John Paul II declared in 1994, and Pope Benedict agrees, than the church has no authority to ordain women because Jesus chose 12 men – and no women – to be his apostles. That choice, Wang says, was deliberate and significant not just for that first period of history but also for every age. Men and women are equal in Christianity, but women cannot fulfill a basic function of the priesthood, “standing in the place of Jesus.”

Explanations such as these are unacceptable to Therese Koturbash. She is a young lawyer who is on leave from her job with Legal Aid Manitoba and she now finds herself living and working in London as the international coordinator for womenpriests.org, one of the groups that will be active during the pope’s visit.

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