Public Relations and Ethics

Written by: Molly Jones, Account Executive for Carl’s Jr. Ellensburg

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According to PRSA, the six professional values that every PR professional should stand by are advocacy, honesty, expertise, independence, loyalty, and fairness. Each value supports the other to form a well-rounded guide on how to perform PR ethically. In this blog we will analyze each value to better understand how they are all connected.

Expertise

Aside from being an expert on the company or organization you represent, you should also always be building your expertise within the field of PR. By agreeing to this value, you agree to constantly be building yourself through education and professional development. This will maintain your credibility and strong relationships within the PR profession and the business world in general.

Advocacy

Being an advocate for an organization means you believe in it and understand it whole-heartedly. It also gives you the responsibility to represent that organization to the public in a positive way. In PR, we are the voice of many different types of ideas and viewpoints. In order to be a proper advocate, you must be loyal and believing in what you represent.

Loyalty

Loyalty is not just a duty to your company but also to the public. You not only have the job of remaining loyal to who you represent, but you also need to keep in mind the public interest. There should be a loyalty to the public for advocating accurate and truthful information. Without the trust of the public, a PR professional is nothing.

Honesty

Honesty has to do with representing a company with accuracy and truth. If you choose to work for a company in which you strongly disagree with, your PR skills will be limited. Without believing in the company you represent, there will be no loyalty. If you are not loyal to the company, it will be nearly impossible to represent that company honestly.

Independence

As the PRSA website states, independence means we are accountable for our own actions. In order to advocate properly while remaining loyal and honest, we must represent the company we work for in all aspects of our lives. PR is not a 9-5 job. If we work for a company that represents one thing, and off the clock we choose to represent the opposite, we are not doing our job fully. We owe it to the ones relying on us to maintain a good imagine even while living our independent lives.

Fairness

As PR professionals we are more than likely going to experience the clashing of opinions between peers, the public, the media, or competitors. We are responsible for acting fairly and respecting the right of free expression. As mentioned before, this goes for our independent lives as well. We must speak professionally and maintain a good image for ourselves as well as our company.

Every one value makes the other five stronger. To say one is more important than the other would be inaccurate. Now we have seen how each professional value works together to make a solid guide for ethical PR.

Cited sources:

PRSA Member Code of Ethics. (n.d.). Retrieved April 19, 2015, from http://www.prsa.org/aboutprsa/ethics/codeenglish/#.VTVuODnD3FI

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