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Church PR – Faith in Journalism?

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By Daniel Torchia
@dantorchia
Listen to this whole Media Ministry Minutes segment on this week’s SLHour.

I have a love-hate relationship with journalism. Sadly, I think I’ve accused media of all the vices under the sun. Yet throughout my adult life, the truth is I’ve reaped immeasurable benefit and fulfillment from the work of journalists. Recently, as part of our Public and Media Relations training workshops, I’ve reacquainted myself with their codes of conduct and ethics. Doing so has renewed me with energy and appreciation for their work.

Some elements from the Code of Ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists include:

“Ethical journalism should be accurate and fair. Journalists should be honest and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.”
– taken from their principle, “SEEK TRUTH AND REPORT IT”.

“Ethical journalism treats sources, subjects, colleagues and members of the public as human beings deserving of respect.”
– taken from their principle, “MINIMIZE HARM”.

“The highest and primary obligation of ethical journalism is to serve the public.”
– taken from their principle, “ACT INDEPENDENTLY”.

Understandably, like in all professions and vocations, not all journalists keep up with their codes, standards or expectations. I’m sure we can all relate.

That is why, though tempted, we should never give up on the fight for open and sincere dialogue with media – or any other stakeholder group, for that matter. Deep inside us all, as well as intrinsic to most professions, there is a raw and persistent longing to do good, to serve public interest.

So whenever something goes sour for you or the faith in the press, which it inevitably will, let’s rally together as a community (faith-based or professional) to forge ahead, grow and learn and renew our energy to keep up the dialogue – one sincere conversation at a time.


Read more from Danny Torchia at Dialogue and Grace.

Religious vocations wake up the world

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How can people in consecrated life “wake up the world”? This week we speak with Fr. Toby Collins, CR of the National Religious Vocation Conference who has some suggestions. Danny Torchia tells us why we should have faith in journalism (and about his new initiative Dialogue and Grace), Sebastian speaks with Sr. Veronica O’Reilly of the Sisters of St. Joseph on Connect5 and we meet singer/songwriter PJ Anderson.

Email us your comments, or send us a direct voice mail message by clicking on the tab on the right side of this webpage —>

Full program:

This program is available thanks to the support of our generous donors. Thank you for your donation to keep the SLHour on the air.

Learn More:
Watch Sebastian Gomes’ conversation with Sr. Veronica O’Reilly on Connect5.

PR: A noble profession that needs more faithful practitioners

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The confluence of Public Relations and faith
A noble profession that needs more faithful practitioners

By Daniel Torchia
@dantorchia
Listen to Danny Torchia’s Media Ministry Minutes segment once a month on the SLHour.

Public Relations often gets a bad rap. In the world of mass media and pop culture, the Catholic faith doesn’t often fare much better (though many are changing that). And that’s not where the relation between the two ends. Public Relations is terribly misunderstood and the public conversation related to it is so far off the hinges at times it’s hard to gain an appreciation for the serious academic underpinnings of the profession. Some could say that about faith too. The negatives will stop here…The purpose of this text is to share a seldom appreciated aspect of Public Relations: the profession, when properly understood, can be a bona fide vocation and blessing that can help the world in myriad ways.

My preferred definition of Public Relations, a combination of definitions from James Grunig and the Canadian Public Relations Society, provides a glimpse into this noble character.

“Public Relations is the management function that helps to nurture relationships between an organization and its stakeholders – groups that can either enhance or constrain the ability of the organization to deliver on its mission, with the good of society in mind.”

In order to enjoy the fertile, sustainable and good relationships that are implied in this definition, organizations must deploy some effort in Public Relations, at least theoretically. And, according to best practices in PR, these campaigns must invariably include listening, dialogue, compromise and continual communication. For the advocate in me and my own conscience, the operative word here is compromise. Companies owned and managed by leaders who understand the power of true Public Relations know that they too must often change in order to ensure the sustainability and success of their organizations. I mean change for the good. For example, they must pollute less, pay more, recycle, innovate and keep better lines of communication with media – to name one public or audience group.

In many small ways such as these, PR fulfills its critical role of building meaningful bridges between organizations and the publics on which the future of these organizations depend, as well as an organizational culture that is ready to change in alignment with the good of its stakeholders. These principles apply to the faith sector as it does to the for-profit sector. If more people knew this noble character of Public Relations, and practiced what they preached, the world would be a far better place.

To consider a career in Public Relations, or learn more, visit: The Institute for Public Relations, Canada Public Relations Society, and the Public Relations Society of America.

SLHour Christmas edition with Bob Halligan

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Join us for a special Christmas edition of the SLHOUR with all our contributors giving their segments a little Christmas twist: Gillian learns a Christmas lesson from her kids; Danny learns something from Mary’s “yes”; Hollywood teaches Mark something about the Incarnation and Sr. Marie-Paul Curley finds the Window to the soul to five gems, plus we meet singer/songwriter Bob Halligan Jr. and listen to music from his new album, Christmas.

Email us your comments or send us a direct voice mail message by clicking on the tab on the right side of this webpage —>

This program is available thanks to the support of our generous donors. Thank you for your donation to keep the SLHour on the air.

Learn more…

Listen to and read Danny Torchia’s Media Ministry Minutes columns.

Listen to and read Sr. Marie-Paul Curley’s Windows to the Soul columns.

Listen to or watch our 2014 SLHour Christmas Special.

The Power of the Word

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Do you ever think about Catholic media and how important it is? This week we come to you from Buffalo, from the 2015 Catholic Media Conference and we learn all about the power of the word. Our Media Ministry expert, Danny Torchia joins Deacon Pedro as they speak with various Catholic communications professionals including Catholic Press Association, CEO, Tim Walker; conference organizer and photographer, Patrick McPartland and PR and marketing specialist, Sherry Brownrigg. We also speak with Penny Wiegert, the editor of The Observer Catholic Newspaper; the Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Mons. Paul Tighe and we learn all about the work of Sr. Rosemary Nyirumbe of Uganda. This program first aired in June 2015.

Email us your comments or send us a direct voice mail message by clicking on the tab on the right side of this webpage —>

This program is available thanks to the support of our generous donors. Thank you for your donation to keep the SLHour on the air.

Church PR – Be perfect, therefore, for Christ’s sake and….

Screen Shot 2015-05-22 at 11.41.22 AMBy Daniel Torchia
@dantorchia
Listen to Danny Torchia’s Media Ministry Minutes segment once a month on the SLHour.

Leadership comes with responsibility. Think of a mother or good father, or a hero like Dr. Martin Luther King. Although we rarely dwell on it, part of this responsibility is pure and selfless service. That includes active listening, patience, forgiveness and unconditional love – for starters.

It means, too, weighing every word that comes from one’s mouth and every action taken in public, but also in private.

That is, of course, a life of holiness. But it’s also your life when you take stock of the leadership roles you may have in your life.

The leader of today’s organization, parish, charity, fundraising campaign or community group shares in this calling. A leader lives for and serves the group. Yes – even in the normal supervisor/”direct report” relationship. This is how it ought to be at General Motors or General Mills, at your local school board or in your parish or home. In many ways we’ve lost this understanding.

Before accepting any leadership position, even with a small group, remember the life of Jesus: the service toward others, the conviction or authority of his words which are based in Truth and love, the ability to take the higher ground when faced with aggression or traps etc. Believe it or not, this is one of the ways in which I provide media training to corporate clients. They are reminded to be “unblemished”, humble and caring in their conversations and encounters with stakeholders. They are reminded to do the right thing, over and over again – not necessarily the action that is easiest or most personally rewarding.

They are, as well, expected to give time and considerate attention to all audience groups, including angry or agitated members of the media. All of this helps breed good leaders, and remind corporate executives that leadership is about service and altruism.

So therefore, be perfect, for Christ’s sake…. and for the well-being of your organization and the audiences on which your success depends.

Church PR – How can I build a strong PR department?

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By Daniel Torchia
@dantorchia
Listen to this whole Media Ministry Minutes segment on this week’s SLHour.

Before building a Public Relations department or reviewing your existing PR function, it’s always a good idea to remember (1) How do I define Public Relations and (2) What are the goals of my PR efforts?

A definition worth considering

My preferred definition of Public Relations goes something like this:

“Public Relations is the management function that helps to nurture relationships between an organization and its stakeholders – groups that can either enhance or constrain the ability of the organization to deliver on its mission. And all of this with the good of society/all in mind.”

I must give credit to James E. Grunig, Professor Emeritus at the University of Maryland. This definition comes mainly from him and his seminal book, Excellence in Communications and Public Relations Management.

That’s a loaded and rich definition. It’s worth meditating on it.

It all starts with measurable goals

Good goals will guide you and all you do. Consider some of these:

  1. Improve relationships with any – or all – of my key audience groups
  2. Convey our true story / vocation / mission
  3. Become more responsive to our core audience groups
  4. Foster a greater leadership team and put them “out there” with greater confidence

Your options are endless. What’s key, in my experience and opinion, is that they find their inspiration from the above definition of PR – and that they are measurable.

So what can I do?

Here are some ideas on how to build your PR department:

  1. Find experts who are willing to act as mentors and advisors. Consider PR directors at Catholic organizations, dioceses etc. or retirees that have experience in PR.  Ask if they’d consider helping you with strategy or finding qualified volunteers.
  2. Establish a solid “source” of potential PR volunteers or interns. Many PR programs at academic institutions demand that students find a co-op placement (for credits). A partnership with your local Catholic campus or vocational school can work wonders.
  3. Take the time to read about PR from quality sources. Consider Tactics Magazine from the Public Relations Society of America – one of the most insightful journals in the business, or join the mailing list of the Institute for Public Relations (http://www.instituteforpr.org/).
  4. Build a team that combines Technicians and Strategists.  The former have the skills to program websites, write quality content, design a nice poster or organize events, for example. The latter understand the strategy and the overall program management. Both are needed.

Once the department starts yielding fruits, your organization might be in a position to consider ways to retain all of the necessary resources to do more. What’s certain: when proper Public Relations programs are implemented, everyone wins and new bridges are made between your organization and the audiences on which your organization depends – from media to internal audiences and everyone in between.

The Power of the Word

CMC15_color_logo
Do you ever think about Catholic media and how important it is? This week we come to you from Buffalo, from the 2015 Catholic Media Conference and we learn all about the power of the word. Our Media Ministry expert, Danny Torchia joins Deacon Pedro as they speak with various Catholic communications professionals including Catholic Press Association, CEO, Tim Walker; conference organizer and photographer, Patrick McPartland and PR and marketing specialist, Sherry Brownrigg. We also speak with Penny Wiegert, the editor of The Observer Catholic Newspaper; the Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Mons. Paul Tighe and we learn all about the work of Sr. Rosemary Nyirumbe of Uganda.

Email us your comments or send us a direct voice mail message by clicking on the tab on the right side of this webpage —>

 

 

This program is available thanks to the support of our generous donors. Thank you for your donation to keep the SLHour on the air.

The Church in Quebec

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This week on the SLHour Jasmin Lemieux-Lefebvre, Communications Director for the Archdiocese of Quebec teaches all about the Church in Quebec. Dan Torchia tells us how to build a PR department, a good tip for Catholic organizations; we learn about the Veritas Christi Catholic High School, a new school for students with disabilities and Michael James Mette has a new album, Arts and Humanity.

Email us your comments

 

 

This program is available thanks to the support of our generous donors. Thank you for your donation to keep the SLHour on the air.

Learn more…
Listen to Michael James Mette’s first appearance on the SLHour from our January 26, 2013 program.

And here’s where you can find more Media Ministry Minutes.

SLHour 2014 Christmas Special

Christmas Special 610Join us for our special Christmas edition with our contributors giving their segments a little Christmas twist: Andrew has a Christmas saint; Gillian learns a Christmas lesson from her kids; Danny looks back at the work done this year; Hollywood teaches Mark something about Christmas and Sr. Marie Paul finds the Windows to the Soul to five films about saying yes; plus we listen to music from Fr. Rob Galea, Seraphim and Marie Miller.

Email us your comments

This program is available thanks to the support of our generous donors. Thank you for your donation to keep the SLHour on the air.





Watch this Christmas special on TV!


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