Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 10, 2008
Media is forum for Church dialogue with world
By GLEN ARGAN
“I’m happy to work with you and to help you in any way that I can.”
The Church, he said, has the experience of 2,000 years of proclaiming the Gospel that it wants to bring to the discussion of societal questions.
It appreciates the central place of the media in dealing with those questions and believes that it is important for the Church to have access to the media, he said.
The Church and media can work together and help one another, he said.
By hiring Lorraine Turchansky, a former news editor for the Prairies region with The Canadian Press, as the archdiocese’s first full-time communications officer in April, Smith has backed up his words with action.
Edmonton joins Toronto, London and Montreal as Canadian dioceses with full-time communications staff.
“Part of our mission is to reach out to people – not only in our archdiocese, but to the community as a whole,” Turchansky said in an interview.
Along with doing internal communication work in the Church, Turchansky helps to build the Church’s profile through the media.
“Anytime we can get the archbishop’s face and his message out in the media is good.”
She helps journalists find the right people to talk with when they are working on projects about the Church as well as providing them with the information they need.
As a former journalist herself, she is well aware of the pressures reporters face, including tight deadlines and a shortage of time to do the research.
“Part of the role is to be a spokesperson for the archdiocese,” she added.
So far, she said, she has had no conflicts with reporters. “The fact is I’m trying to help them. I want to err on the side of transparency.”
Turchansky also hopes to provide media training next year to priests and Church staff who want it.
“People are often not comfortable speaking with the media,” she said. Some priests who can give an excellent homily to 1,000 people may “freeze up” when facing a TV camera.
Turchansky also wants to make the media breakfast an annual event.
“I got some fairly positive response from people who were there,” she said. Some were happy to have an event with a prominent person who did not have any agenda to promote on that day.
As for Archbishop Smith, he says, “This is something I am quite happy to be part of.”
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