From a young age, parents continually remind their children to act honestly, to play fairly and to always adhere to the rules. As young pre-professionals, we can apply these same concepts to an ethical career in public relations.
As public relations professionals, the public trusts us to act ethically through everything we implement and accomplish. One slipup and the well-being of a company’s reputation is on the line. No matter your own background or personal beliefs, you are serving varied people who expect continuous fairness.
In order to uphold and maintain a respectable, ethical responsibility, you must prepare yourself. As a student and pre-professional, there are a few simple steps you can take toward becoming ethically educated:
- Start by taking the PRSSA Code of Conduct/Ethics pledge. This begins with, “I pledge to conduct myself professionally, with truth, accuracy, fairness and responsibility to the public, fellow members and to the Society …” This promise is the beginning to working toward ethical excellence.
- Research, react objectively and remain faithful. Find out your client’s and audience’s principles and react to what best suits their needs.
- Adhere to the PRSA Code of Ethics. The PRSA Member Statement of Professional Values highlights six key qualities: advocacy, honesty, expertise, independence, loyalty and fairness. When all rolled into one, these values create an outstanding ethical outline. By following these values, an ethical outcome is sure to follow.
Acting ethically is the foundation of the pursuit of excellence, and it is our responsibility in the world of public relations to be ethical professionals. Our profession is trusted to be experienced, prepared and unbiased. Without strong ethical decision-making skills, our credibility with the public could be at risk.
How do you strive to be excellent when making tough, ethical decisions?
Becca Mullin is a senior at West Virginia University, majoring in public relations and Spanish. She is the current PRSSA vice president of external relations of her Chapter at West Virginia University. Follow her on Twitter @Becca_KMullin or connect via her LinkedIn account.