Canada’s long gun registry, facts and fiction

By Dennis Gruending

The House of Commons is poised to vote on the fate of the long gun registry. The Conservatives would scrap the registry and destroy all of its records but most other MPs want to keep it. The showdown in coming and the vote will be close. The Conservatives have orchestrated this issue and are trying to use it as a wedge that they hope will dislodge votes from NDP and Liberal MPs in rural and small town areas. For a long while it looked as though the politics of division was working, but there has been a growing chorus in support of the registry from police chiefs, emergency room physicians, nurses, people who run women’s shelters, labour unions and others. MPs on both sides of the issue are being lobbied furiously.

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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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© 2011 dennisGRUENDING
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