PR ethics

As PR professionals we are challenged every day; there are no two days alike.

There is a reason why PR is one of the most stressful careers.

And it’s not just about your day-to-day challenges; it’s also about ethical issues have to face.

According to Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), protecting the integrity and the public trust are fundamental to the profession’s role and reputation.

In an effort to address any ethical challenges PR professionals might face in their work, the PRSA Board developed the Code of Ethics.

Whether you’re thinking of starting a career in PR or are already working in PR, you should read the Code of Ethics.

In our quest to change the perception of the PR industry from inside out, Spin Sucks and #PRStudChat joined forces this September to help educate the next generation of PR professionals.

And, as September is PR Ethics month, we invited Dr. Marlene Neill, an assistant professor of advertising and public relations at Baylor University, to talk about ethics in PR.

What Does Ethics in PR Really Mean?

PR ethics might sound complicated, but in reality is not.

It’s about doing the right thing and using common sense while choosing what that right thing is.

It’s about your values and how they align with your company’s core values.

Dr. Neill said it very well in last week’s chat,

Making choices between what is good and bad, what is morally justifiable action and what is not.– Patterson and Wilkins

Drawing the Line in PR Ethics

Is it hard to decide what’s ethical and what’s not in our work?

It shouldn’t be.

If you put aside the work pressure and take a deeper look at who you are as a person, the answer will come naturally.

You may not like it, but you will have your answer.

It’s not easy to stand up to your bosses and point out that some of the things required of you are bordering the ethics line.

It’s not easy to follow your personal and professional code of ethics and say no.

But, it’s all about you and being able to say you did the right thing.

I like Dr. Neill’s TARES test: Authenticity, respect, equity, and social responsibility.

Think about the TARES test the next time you’re faced with a tough decision.

Conflicting loyalties, conflicts of interest, transparency, how much info to disclose and when are some of the challenges Dr. Neill pointed out when it comes to PR ethics.

She also talked about learning how to make a business case for doing the right thing as some decisions involve millions.

That’s a great addition PR pros should keep in mind.

Resources When it Comes to PR Ethics

PR professionals have a number of resources to use as guidance when it comes to ethics.

Some of those shared in last week’s #PRStudChat are the PRSA code of ethics, ethical standards advisories (ESAs), ethics app, case studies, the PR Dream Team.

Join PR communities and learn from those more experienced than you.

Network with PR veterans as well as newcomers. Brainstorm ideas and don’t be afraid to voice your opinion.

When you are part of a PR community, you are not competing with anyone. You are there to learn, to help, and receive help whenever you need it.

It’s about our joined effort in taking the PR industry to the next level, one step at the time.

Next Month’s #PRStudChat

Which leads me to the next edition of #PRStudChat.

In October, we will be talking about answers to important career and communications questions.

Along with guest of honor and co-host Deirdre Breakenridge, we will explore ways in which PR professionals can make the most of their careers in this fast-paced world we live in.

Join us in October on #PRStudChat and learn how to develop your communication skills, how to embrace change in your organization as well as in the media landscape, how to advance your career and be the best PR pro you can be.

See you in October!

If you want to catch up on September #PRStudChat, we put together this summary for you.

[<a href=”//” target=”_blank”>View the story “PR Ethics Month with #PRStudChat” on Storify</a>]

Corina Manea

Corina Manea is the chief community officer at Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She works directly with Spin Sucks students and writes for the award-winning PR blog. She also is the founder of NutsPR. Join the Spin Sucks  community!

View all posts by Corina Manea