PRWeek took a welcomed shot across the bow at the public relations profession with its lead editorial this month on the state of ethics in PR. Titled “Ethics mishaps of a few are a concern for the entire industry,” the piece represents a clear call to action for the profession to have an open and forthright discussion about where things stand when it comes to PR ethics.
More specifically, PRWeek’s unsigned editorial asks whether it is time for the profession to undertake a “proactive approach … that cements ethics within the very fabric of agency and in-house communications departments.”
We certainly think so. And we applaud PRWeek for shining some much-needed light on one of the profession’s most pernicious issues.
Raising the ethical standards of public relations is imperative. This is especially so in the digital age, when ethical missteps quickly gain mainstream attention and risk damaging the public’s and business community’s trust in the value of public relations.
Unfortunately, when ethical mishaps occur, what we often see is the profession engage in a swift volley of hand-wringing followed by an equally swift refusal to examine why the same issues crop up over and over. Little is accomplished but our credibility with the public and clients continues to erode.
It’s time for the profession to get serious about ethics.