By Gerard F. Corbett, APR, Fellow PRSA; and Deborah Silverman, Ph.D., APR
Published: Dec. 29, 2011
- PR firms representing dictators. An issue PRSA has taken a strong stance against, this is a slippery slope for the PR industry. Every person or organization has the right to have its voice heard in the global marketplace of ideas. But for PR firms to represent dictatorships that do not afford that same freedom to their own people is disingenuous to democratic societies’ reputations as marketplaces for dissenting ideas.
- Ethical use of interns. A 2011 update to PRSA’s Code of Ethics made clear our belief that it is unethical to not provide some type of compensation to students who perform work for an employer. In the coming year, PRSA will take a three-prong approach to eradicating this pernicious issue: advocacy against the use of unpaid interns; research into the effect that unpaid internships have on PR students’ future career success; and education efforts aimed at informing internship supervisors on the issue.
- The growth of brand journalism. As media fragmentation continues relatively unabated, look for more companies in 2012 to explore brand journalism by hiring their own “reporters” to produce brand content and news. While brand journalism is enticing, companies will need to carefully weigh its ethical perils.
- Maintaining PR’s ethical standards in the digital age. The rapid rise in the adoption of technology and use of social media has been a boon for the public relations profession. It raises concerns, though, over whether proper ethical and professional standards are always in place. We will continue to explore necessary updates to the profession’s ethical standards in order to meet evolving practices and technology.