Richard Edelman's and Paul Holmes' discussion of the payola scandal are must reads. It warms my heart to see two pros defend our industry. If they were action figures, they'd come with Kung-Fu Grip. It is my hope that the new president and CEO of the Public Relations Society of America, Cheryl Procter-Rogers, joins this discussion. Quickly.
Holmes and Edelman are doing such a sound job; I've found it tough to add on. Then I saw Media Orchard's post on ethics. I'm standing in line with these folks and posting an excerpt from the PRSA code of ethics on my blog. If you're blogging, I encourage you to do the same. If you're not, print them out, read them and pass them around. It would appear we could all stand a refresher.
DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION
Core Principle Open communication fosters informed decision making in a democratic society.
Intent To build trust with the public by revealing all information needed for responsible decision making.
Guidelines A member shall:
- Be honest and accurate in all communications.
- Act promptly to correct erroneous communications for which the member is responsible.
- Investigate the truthfulness and accuracy of information released on behalf of those represented.
- Reveal the sponsors for causes and interests represented.
- Disclose financial interest (such as stock ownership) in a client's organization.
- Avoid deceptive practices.
Examples of Improper Conduct Under this Provision
- Front groups: A member implements "grass roots" campaigns or letter-writing campaigns to legislators on behalf of undisclosed interest groups.
- Lying by omission: A practitioner for a corporation knowingly fails to release financial information, giving a misleading impression of the corporation's performance.
- A member discovers inaccurate information disseminated via a Web site or media kit and does not correct the information.
- A member deceives the public by employing people to pose as volunteers to speak at public hearings and participate in "grass roots" campaigns.