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01/26/2006

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Christina

While taking an introductory PR class I was taught that some people do not see Public Relations as a profession. We are told that unlike doctors and lawyers, there is no official code that we must abide by. Doctors and lawyers can loose their license if they break the rules. PR professionals do not have such limits. Sure we have the PRSA Code of Ethics, but does that really hold people accountable. There is no law to say that if a PR professional does something unethical then they can never work in PR again. Sure they might have a hard time finding a job, but nothing to officially take their profession away as a lawyer getting disbarred.
I respect the Code of Ethics, but one day I would like to have something to regulate the business better. I want something better enforced to make sure that only the best of the best can be PR professionals. I love my major and I can not wait until I can get out in to the job market and use my skills and knowledge, but I want everyone else to see me as professional and serious as I see myself. My wish is that one day PR will become more regulated than it is. There will still be the creative edge to give the professionals some room to work, but regulated none the less. PR is such a great profession I just want everyone to agree.

Kevin Dugan

Christina: Thanks for your note. Your take on this is admirable and your passion for our craft is inspirational. After nearly 15 years of practicing, I can tell you that public relations IS a great profession. I can also tell you that everyone will NEVER agree.

When I was taking my accreditation, accountability/regulation was something I became interested in as well. Initially I blamed PRSA for not putting more teeth into this process. But comparing our profession to doctors and lawyers, there is usually less money at stake and fewer "life or death" issues involved. This begins to speak to why we are not more closely monitored.

We're seeing the problems with this approach however with several issues and scandals in the media right now. It still bothers me. My suggestion is that by doing our best work we'll more than earn the respect our profession deserves. It's far from a complete solution, but it's a start.

Kami Huyse

I agree that we are only as good as the lowest common denominator (in public opinion that is), but there is some First Ammendment issues that come to the table when talk about adding laws comes into the debate. I am accredited and would have no problem with more accountability, but we must each look in the mirroe and do what we can to promote accreditation. If you are in charge of hiring, don't hire anyone who isn't accredited, or who isn't in the process of accreditation. For employees with less than five years of experience, mentor them and pay for them to get accredited. It will be worth it, for both the profession and the business.

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