With its impressive on-going focus on ethics programming, Cal State Fullerton PRSSA Chapter won the Plank Center’s Ethics Advocacy Award at this week’s PRSSA national conference in Washington, D.C.
Earlier in the day, I peaked in on several professional development workshops at the conference, and was especially pleased to see a session devoted to ethics. Unfortunately, the room was sparsely crowded, unlike the three other jam-packed concurrent sessions which primarily focused on how to find a job. Needless to say, finding employment in this job market is goal number one, especially for seniors graduating in December. But becoming grounded in the critical role of ethics in our profession is best learned early in one’s career so I wish that particular workshop was standing room only.
With my enthusiastic encouragement, DePaul University’s nine PRSSA attendees volunteered to write guest posts summarizing each of the professional development sessions since they “divided and conquered” the various sessions in order to ensure they got the most out of the conference. In the meantime, I encourage PR pros — young and old — to take less than 10 minutes to read PRSA’s Member Code of Ethics. Adopted 10 years ago by PRSA, the code is a useful guide to ensuring the profession maintains the highest ethical practices. At the end of the document, PRSA and PRSSA members are invited to sign this ethics pledge:
“To conduct myself professionally, with truth, accuracy, fairness and responsibility to the public; to improve my individual competence and advance the knowledge and proficiency of the profession through continuing research and education; and to adhere to the articles of the Member Code of Ethics for the practice of public relations.” The pledge also acknowledges that those who have been sanctioned by a government agency or convicted of an action that is in violation of the Code may be barred from membership or expelled from the Society.”
With the rapid expansion of communication channels, it’s essential for practitioners to understand and support the highest possible ethical standards of the profession. Reading the Code and signing the pledge should be the minimum cost-of-entry to the PR profession.