Peace Love & Sillyness

Ethics and Professionalism

Posted on: 03/30/2009

Reading notes from Chapter 3 in Public Relations Strategies and Tactics and notes taken during my Intro to PR class

What is Ethics?
– how we should live our lives
– focuses on questions about what is right or wrong, fair or unfair, caring or uncaring, good or bad, responsible or irresponsible, and the like.

3 Ethical Orientations:
1. Absolute – Every decision is right or wrong
2. Existential – Decision made on basis of immediate practical choice. (aka: “it seemed right at the time”)
3. Situational – what will the least amount of harm or the most amount of good. (does it make sense?)

Decisons must satisfy:
1. public interest
2. their employer
3. their professional organization’s code of ethics
4. their own personal values

– “We act as publicists, yet we talk of counseling. We perform as technologists in communication, but we aspire to be decision-makers dealing in policy.”
– A practitioner should have:
* a sense of independence
* a sense of responsibility to society and the public interest
* manifest concern for the competence and honor of the profession as a whole
* a higher loyalty to the standards of the profession and fellow professionals than to the employer of the moment. the reference point in all public relations activity must be the standards of the profession and not those of the client or the employer.

1. define the practice of public relations
2. establish uniform educational criteria
3. set uniform professional standards
4. protect clients and employers from imposters and charlatans
5. protect qualified practitioners from unfair competition from the unethical and unqualified
6. raise the overall credibility of public relations practitioners

– practitioners voluntarily go through a process in which they are “certified” by a national organization that they are competent, qualified professionals.

Ethics in Individual Practice:
“To thine own self be true”
– be honest at all times
– convey a sense of business ethics based on your own standards and those of society
– repsect the integrity and position of your opponents and audiences
– develop trust by emphasizing substance over triviality
– present all sides of an issue
– strive for a balance between loyalty to the organization and duty to the public
– don’t sacrifice long-term objectives for short-term gains\
– be prepared to sacrifice security for standards

Ethical Dealings with News Media:
– Achieve trust by avoiding..
* junkets of doubtful news value
* extravagant parties
* expensive gifts
* personal favors


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