The archdiocese of Toronto to host Catholic media conference

By 
  • January 16, 2008

{mosimage}TORONTO - The archdiocese of Toronto will be spiritual host for what could be the largest gathering of Catholic media ever held in Canada when the Catholic Media Convention 2008 comes to town May 28-30.

Some 400 Catholic journalists, communications professionals, TV and radio producers and others from Canada and the United States will meet at the Sheraton Toronto Downtown Hotel for three days of dialogue and professional development. Their theme is “Proclaim it from the rooftops.”

The three keynote speakers for the event are Cardinal Marc Ouellet, archbishop of Quebec City; Dr. Margaret Somerville, acclaimed ethicist and McGill University law professor; and Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, who is media spokesman for Pope Benedict XVI and head of Vatican Radio and Television.

Ouellet will speak on media and the new evangelization, Somerville will talk on how language affects public discourse and Lombardi will talk on how the Pope works with media on a global platform.

Besides the keynote speakers, there is a long list of highly qualified media professionals who have agreed to share their experiences and skills with the conference participants. Among them are: Lloyd Robertson, chief anchor for CTV national news; CBC Radio senior producer Peter Kavanagh; Mary Jo Leddy, director of Romero House Refugee Community and an adjunct professor at Regis College; Jim Creskey, founder and publisher of the Hill Times in Ottawa; Toronto lawyer Peter Lauwers; Michael Higgins, president of St. Thomas University in Fredericton, N.B.; Phil Horgan, president of the Catholic Civil Rights League; and John Thavis, Rome bureau chief for Catholic News Service of Washington, D.C.

The topics for workshops include the evolution of a story, engaging youth, a spirituality for media professionals, the freelance writer-editor relationship, crisis communications, Catholics and politics, covering the Pope, paying the bills, designing circulation-building campaigns, advertising, photography, the next generation of web sites, and dealing with mainstream media.

The conference will feature daily Masses, with Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins presiding at the opening liturgy.

For the last year, Catholic journalists from different media organizations in Toronto have been working together to organize the program. These include The Catholic Register, Salt+Light TV, Daughters of St. Paul, Novalis Publishing, Catholic Radio and the archdiocese of Toronto communications office.

"We have chosen as the theme of next year’s media convention: 'Proclaim it from the Rooftops.' The reality is that the church must now speak to a highly technological, 'mediated' society. Pope John Paul II said that the church must be present in the new 'Areopagai' of the world — a world replete with so many competing philosophies, ideas and phenomena. The church has to be there on the scene, using all the means of modern social communications to proclaim the Word of God and the message of the Church," said Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB, chief executive officer of Salt+Light TV and co-chair of the 2008 organizing committee.

The other co-chair, Register Publisher and Editor Joseph Sinasac, said "We've pulled together a mix of keynotes, bootcamps and workshops to serve all those who labour away in the vineyards of Catholic media — print, publishing, broadcast, Internet and diocesan communications. Toronto will become a true meeting place of minds."

The convention is being sponsored by the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada along with the U.S. Catholic Academy of Communications Professionals. There will also be participation of the Association of Roman Catholic Communicators of Canada. However, anyone engaged in Catholic media or has an interest in the subject can attend and a significant delegation of Canadians involved in Catholic communications are expected to participate.

For more information on the convention, go to the web site www.catholicmediaconvention.org, or call Neil MacCarthy at (416) 934-0606, ext. 552.

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