After a public shooting that left two dead and 23 injured, the City of Toronto is offering Danzig Street residents free media training.

A leaflet being distributed in the east-Toronto neighbourhood is promoting a workshop called “Close Encounters of the Media Kind.” The event will be hosted Friday by Cher Jones, senior co-ordinator of strategic communications for the City of Toronto.

“You have something to say and the media is prepared to listen. But how can you protect your message?” the leaflet asks.

A city official said they got the idea for the event when some Danzig residents started complaining about the way their neighbourhood was being portrayed.

The leaflets, however, had some residents scratching their heads.

“I think that would be an odd thing to do after a shooting,” said area resident Courtney Desbien. “The shooting just happened and camera people obviously want to know what happened from the public and from witnesses and stuff, but (media training) is just a weird thing to do.”

Desbien said she would rather see the money used to hold the media training spent on video cameras and other security measures in the neighbourhood.

Another resident, Treyvon Stevens, said he didn’t see anything wrong with the workshop, but questioned its timing and whether residents would be interested when there was so much going on in the neighbourhood.

He did say that there were good things happening in the community, but one bad person was spoiling it for everyone.

“The shooting is not any help to us,” he said. “There’s a lot of people out here that are actually out here for good and trying to do stuff for the kids around here.”

Councillors mixed on workshop

News of the training met with mixed reaction from city councillors.

Both Glenn De Baeremaeker and Peter Milczyn said the training wasn’t needed.

Coun. Adam Vaughan, however, said the training was a good idea to help people ensure whatever they say is kept in context.

“I think it’s one of the supports that neighbourhoods that are plunged into horrific situations need and it helps them communicate safely, but also communicate effectively with the media and with the larger city,” Vaughan said.

There could be safety consequences when someone speaks emotionally without thinking, particularly when police have yet to place charges, said Vaughan, who is a former journalist.

“If the mayor has a media coach, why shouldn’t residents?” he asked.

The July 16 shooting during a block party on Danzig Street has prompted a high-profile meeting between Mayor Rob Ford, Toronto police Chief Bill Blair and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty. *took out besides the training – it’s prompted lots of meetings and funding announcements…

During that meeting, McGuinty promised to extend funding to the Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy, which the Toronto police use to focus on neighbourhoods where violence has occurred or is at a high chance of occurring.

Ford also met privately with Prime Minister Stephen Harper after the shooting.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Harper said he made “some specific suggestions to the mayor,” but did not elaborate on exactly what was said.

With files from CTV Toronto’s Natalie Johnson