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Arment Dietrich

Ethical Dilemmas in PR and Media

By: Arment Dietrich | September 19, 2007 | 
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If you live in Chicago and missed the monthly PRSA lunch yesterday, you missed out!  I’m not saying that because I lead the organization this year.  I’m willing to admit some programs are good, some not so good.  But this one – this one was special!

The topic was ethical dilemmas in PR and media and the panel consisted of Cindy Richards, who is now a freelance writer, and wrote most recently for the Sun-Times; Michele Weldon from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University; and Roe Conn from WLS Radio.  Our own Scott Farrell, managing director at Golin-Harris, moderated the discussion.

The recent Amy Jacobsen scandal began the conversation and led to a discussion of how ethics and credibility affect what we do every day as PR people.

The panel was excellent and they discussed what it means to have relationships with reporters without crossing boundaries.  They also discussed what it meant to be a source for a reporter in good and bad times.  My favorite part was when the moderator steered the conversation from whether or not Amy should have been in a bikini and Roe Conn said, “Oh!  Are you still here?”

What do you think the difference is between theory and practical ethics in how we do our jobs?  Have you ever been in a situation that a client asked you to relay (or not relay) information to a reporter that you found offended your ethics?  What did you do?

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