By Kathleen Boyles, Intern at News Generation, Inc. and Student at American University
September is Ethics Month for public relations professionals. Ethics are important for PR students, young PR professionals and veterans of the PR field alike. According to PRSA’s Board of Ethics and Professional Standards (BEPS) its mission “is to inspire, educate and advocate for the best practices in the PR profession, as well as to develop and provide resources to guide ethical decision making.” When approaching ethical dilemmas, BEPS has six categories to think about:
- Identify the ethical issue or conflict
- Indicate all the factors both internal and external that can influence the decision
- Find key values
- Note which groups will be affected and any obligations to each
- Use an ethical principle to lead the decision-making process
- Make and justify the decision
This month PRSA and PRSSA are encouraging members via social media campaigns to sign the Code of Ethics Pledge using the hashtag #EthicsMonth.
One of the most important aspects of the Code of Ethics Pledge is the PRSA Member Statement of Professional Values. For professionals it is important to remember the six values as a PR professional: Advocacy, Honesty, Expertise, Independence, Loyalty, and Fairness. These six values are incredibly important in being a strong and ethical practitioner.
Throughout the month, PRSA and PRSSA are holding events online about ethics in our field. And at PRSA’s Annual Conference in October there will be sessions on ethics, including, “Developing Your Skills As A Trusted Advisor,” “Global Communications Report 2018 — The Evolution of Ethics” and “How Educators and Practitioners Must Unite to Prepare the Future Leaders of our Profession.”