Looking Beyond Ethics Month

Ethical practices are at the core of effective public relations. It is one of the reasons the PRSA has an entire month dedicated to the topic of PR Ethics.

PRSA members recognize the importance of ethics. The PRSA Code of Ethics is consistently ranked as one of the most important elements by our members. That is one of the reasons we created the free PRSA ethics app for iPhone and Android this year. It helps bring the Code of Ethics to life and contains regular updates and guidance.

But while September is PRSA Ethics month and we have great events including a tweet chat this week, ethics month by itself is not enough. PR professionals need to make regular examination of ethics a part of our professional development, team meetings and ongoing practice.

Ethical practice is central to being a PRSA member. But we can’t put ethics, or the code of ethics, on a pedestal. We need to live the code and we need to discuss the elements regularly with our colleagues, our coworkers and the next generation of PR professionals. PR and business ethics are a dynamic and fascinating topic. New technology developments and usage opens new frontiers and should cause us to ask how we will apply our ethical guideposts to new situations.

I wrote about this last year (training your ethical mind) but as Ethics month begins…now is the time to commit ourselves to making regular discussions of ethics as fundamental an activity as status reports, time sheets and measurement.

I encourage you to take a few minutes this month to reread the PRSA Code of Ethics, If you haven’t checked out our Professional Standards Advisories or Ethics App, spend a few minutes and check them out. But let’s make ethical discussion and debate a part of our daily activity moving forward.

Mark McClennan, APR, is a member of the PRSA Board of Directors and senior vice president at Schwartz MSL. He can be reached at

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Mark McClennan, APR

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