The State of Ethics in Public Relations
Facebook, Twitter, blogs, podcasts, YouTube and other new technologies have taken the communication industry by storm in the past five years, rapidly revolutionizing the way that public relations, advertising and marketing professionals communicate with their publics.
Seasoned and new professional communicators alike have scrambled to keep pace with these dazzling new technologies, which have enabled them to build relationships and engage their stakeholders in new, two-way dialogues. Mention the phrase “social media workshop,” and you’re likely to have a packed house for your program.
The problem, for both social media and traditional media, is that in an era of 24/7, rapid-fire communication, the ethical standards that have guided communicators for decades can fall by the wayside. Transparency may be sacrificed for speed of communication. A quick glimpse at recent headlines would give the casual reader the impression that all is wrong in the world of ethics: from The News of the World phone-hacking scandal to American PR firms providing image counsel to dictators to PR firms writing fake online product reviews on behalf of clients.
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