Category Archives: Effective Commentary Strategies

TL;DR – advice to ignore, but implications to heed

Hanging out with teenagers can be an enlightening experience. Last week, I participated in a panel discussion convened by MediaSmarts, “Canada’s centre for digital and media literacy” and a repository of fabulous resources for teachers, parents and kids. The teenagers … Continue reading

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Women on boards to counter “affirmative action plan for men”?

The following op ed was published in the Ottawa Citizen 23 September 2013. Here’s an interesting contradiction: the business mantra “What gets measured gets done” is universally understood as an effective way to monitor many aspects of performance. And yet … Continue reading

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Changing lives through media commentary

“You really have to write that!” This enthusiastic exhortation — often exclaimed simultaneously by a chorus of voices — is a common refrain in the commentary writing workshops we lead. Although I’m clear about the benefits provided by the tips … Continue reading

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2 words to make your writing more accessible

Let’s say you have a graduate degree and/or 20 years of experience in your field, and you’re used to speaking or writing for people who are similarly well-informed. Chances are you sometimes find it difficult to translate your knowledge into … Continue reading

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Expert status less important than insightful context

I have no legal training or experience in the sex trade. No one would ever mistake me as a candidate for the corner office of a large corporation. I am not a celebrity and have never been pregnant. And yet … Continue reading

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O Canada… Oh, Canada

A few years ago the Conservative government threw a bone (briefly) to Canadian women, and (rashly, as it turned out) promised to update the lyrics to our national anthem to include the 50% of the population currently excluded. (Rumour has it that … Continue reading

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Media exposure creates ripples of influence

There’s no predicting what impact your media intervention might have, but here are a couple of recent examples of the ripples created by published op eds… ****** Two days after Kathleen Wynn was elected leader of the Ontario Liberal party, … Continue reading

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“It’s not about you”

Will Dena McMartin’s recent op ed in the Regina Leader-Post help prevent a flooding disaster and save lives? It just might. And even if it doesn’t, the informed analysis of the University of Regina professor of environmental systems engineering offered … Continue reading

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Getting Ahead

… of the news story, that is. It’s a great strategy to increase your likelihood of publication: if you know that a research report, government announcement or legal decision is about to be released, and your informed opinion about the … Continue reading

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New Year’s Resolution: How to disregard criticism by applying the “reasonable man” test

Celebrated American poet and critic, Ezra Pound, in his considered advice to beginning poets offered the following advice: “Pay no attention to the criticism of men who have never themselves written a notable work.” But he could have been speaking to … Continue reading

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