asked PRSA chair and CEO Gerard Corbett, APR, Fellow PRSA
what was the ethical take on a recent situation that occurred with OK! Magazine
’s East Coast editor Shauna Bass.
Bass had a sick Pomeranian named Simba who unfortunately died from its illnesses. Bass spent a great deal of money on visits to the vet.
Bass’s sister decided to set up “The Simba Bass Memorial Fund” which was designed to help her sister heal after the death of her dog. Ultimately the memorial fund was set up to compensate Bass for the enormous vet expenses.
The fund has raised more than $5,000 and a good deal of that money came from public relations professionals.
Though it’s not “an apple-to-apples comparison,” Corbett had a few points to make on the topic:
“First, I would caution public relations professionals to exercise good judgment about whether to provide donations to a cause like this. I would advise about being transparent and I would recommend that the donation be personal. I would also question the magazine about its ethics policies and the efficacy of allowing a reporter to use the offices of the organization to solicit donations to suppliers and other interested parties for a cause like this.”