Donna Heiser, APR

It’s September and as your PRSA Gulf Coast Ethics Officer, I invite you to join me in celebrating Ethics Month.   Applying our ethical principles in the practice of Public Relations must be a thoughtful and continuous focus throughout the year. This year’s theme, “Ethics Every Day,” speaks to the need for us to stay vigilant and act ethically.  To that end, I have included a list of questions developed by PRSA to remind us to ask before acting, as well as six statements that may warn you of a potential ethical violation.

Public relations is built on the foundation of honesty, trust and a commitment to serve the public good. As members of PRSA, we take those responsibilities seriously.  The PRSA Code of Ethics (reprinted below) sets out principles and guidelines that uphold the core values of the ethical practice of public relations, including advocacy, honesty, loyalty, professional development and objectivity.

Acting ethically can be challenging, but as U.S. Army General Norman Schwarzkopf Jr. said, “The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it.” To help you with some of the challenges you may face, I encourage you to participate in the many PRSA offerings during Ethics Month that I’ve included below. For more information, visit

The following are among the highlights of Ethics Month:

Sept. 5 (3:00 PM, EDT)

Webinar: PR Ethics: Take It Personally

Robby Johnson, APR, Ethics Chair, PRSA Alabama and Stacy Smith, APR, Fellow PRSA, past Ethics Chair, PRSA Alabama present the Chapter’s 2018 campaign to promote ethics in PR and discuss how it drove member engagement and increased awareness in their community.

Sept. 10 (1:00 PM, EDT)

Conference Call: Moral Reasoning and Development Across Industries of Mass Communications

This study examined how professional journalists, public relations executives and advertising executives scored in a moral development test. There have been significant changes since a similar study was conducted 10 years ago and Marlene S. Neill Ph.D., APR and AEJMC Media Ethics Division Head & Programming Chair, will lead a discussion of potential factors impacting the results.

Sept. 18 (1:00 PM, EDT)
Twitter chat: Legal and Ethical Dimensions: Using Online Data for Public Relations Strategies
Join the discussion at #EthicsMonth

Sept. 19 (9:00 PM, EDT)
Twitter chat: PR Licensing—-“Enhancing the Profession”
Join the discussion at #EthicsMonth

Sept. 24 (7:00 PM, EDT)
Twitter chat: Fighting for Ethical Integrity in a Time of Fake News, Misinformation & Disinformation
Join the discussion at #EthicsMonth

Sept. 26 (12:00 Noon, EDT)
Webinar: Social Media, The Law and Public Relations Practice
Cayce Myers, Ph.D., LL.M., J.D., APR examines the major legal trends affecting the practice of public relations and digital communication, including social media policymaking, regulations of social media promotions and ownership of social media content. Myers is an Associate Professor in Virginia Tech’s Department of Communication where he teaches public relations, and he also serves as the legal research editor for the Institute for Public Relations.

Best regards,
Donna C. Heiser, APR, CFRE
2019 PRSA Gulf Coast Ethics Officer

PRSA Celebrates Ethics Month