Each September PRSA celebrates Ethics Month. As your PRSA Gulf Coast Ethics Officer, it is my honor to represent our chapter and to update you on the national celebration. Applying our ethical principles in the practice of Public Relations must be a thoughtful and continuous focus throughout the year, especially in today’s pandemic environment and amidst widespread social unrest. This year’s theme, “Doing the right thing” 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 Oprah Winfrey has said, “Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.” 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 on Ethics Month and access to additional resources, please be sure to check out the Ethics in Communications Community on MyPRSA.
Donna C. Heiser, APR, CFRE
PRSA Gulf Coast Ethics Officer