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November 16, 2011

Roundup: PRSA Comments on Utah Mayor's Unethical PR Practices in The Salt Lake Tribune & Deseret News

Rosanna M. Fiske, APR, chair and CEO of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is quoted in The Salt Lake Tribune, Deseret News and Salt Lake City TV news stations FOX 13 Now and KSL, commenting on the unethical communications practices of West Valley City, Utah, Mayor Mike Winder. PRSA issued a statement Nov. 15, 2011, condemning Mr. Winder’s use of a pseudonym to produce positive news stories about his city that were published in various Utah-based media outlets.
he Salt Lake Tribune quotes Fiske as saying that, "At a time of severely low public trust in government, it is imperative that politicians and public relations professionals represent themselves and those they serve in an ethical and transparent manner.” The paper goes on to quote passages from the PRSA Code of Ethics, which states, in part, that it is unethical "for those who represent a business or organization to engage in deceptive online practices or misrepresent one’s identity or professional affiliation.”
The Deseret News also quotes Fiske on the effect that deceptive communication practices has on the public’s trust in government. The News further quotes from the PRSA Greater Salt Lake Chapter’s statement on the matter.
Salt Lake City’s local FOX affiliate quotes Fiske as saying that Winder’s actions violated the most basic ethical tenets of public relations and that what he did was a "disservice to both the public he serves and the media he tried to influence."
Also referencing PRSA’s statement and that of its Greater Salt Lake Chapter was news station KSL (Salt Lake City). “We hope that Mayor Winder has learned from his experience that honest and transparent promotion of his city is far more effective than other means in the long run,” said Dennis Jolley, president-elect of the PRSA Greater Salt Lake Chapter.  

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