Article in Propublica about PR and Journalism ethics

Posted on June 10, 2011. Filed under: Ethics, Public Relations | Tags: , , |

The article below reprises familiar discussions about shrinking newsrooms and expanding PR operations, as the comments point out this can cast journalists as unfailing seekers after truth thwarted by the evil empires of PR. But it does seem that the necessary balance has gone so that the challenge to the corporate ‘line’ is no longer mounted, as it takes resources of time and effort that the 24/7 news cycle rarely allows. In this debate, as always, economics trumps ethics.


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Aberdeen adventure

Posted on October 17, 2010. Filed under: Public Relations | Tags: , , , |

Planning what to say to the Aberdeen/Grampian CIPR meeting on Thursday. The audience is mostly oil industry PR, my subject is PR ethics. Should be fascinating. I imagine they get double distaste, oil AND PR, yeuggh. But it occurs to me that all the disapprovers (including me) end up shoving sectors like oil and arms further into the shadow when of course we need to turn the lights on. The blame game maybe feeds that. Do oil industry PR people embrace the demonic, yeah I’m a bad dude, or deny it, we’re helping save the world, really? I’ve said before that I think the focus on employers in the debates on PR ethics are indicators of the poverty of the discourse, but it is interesting. Also credit: this is the only CIPR group to have responded to a UK wide call for meetings on ethics.

My intention is not to point fingers but to highlight the utter mess that is PR ethics. My most recent research has shown that codes are based on the excellence model, all ideals and symmetry and equality, but practitioners see themselves as advocates, with loyalty to client above society. This is a massive paradigm schism and helps explain why codes are so irrelevant to most practitioners: they are not speaking the same language.

Coupled with the split between PR as seen from the inside (serving humanity) and from the outside (propaganda and distortion), the field seems profoundly fractured. Interestingly there seems to be very little concern about this. Why is that, I wonder?

So I welcome the invitation to Aberdeen and greatly look forward to Q&A.

Ethics Event Flyer v3

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Interesting article from BP advertiser

Posted on July 9, 2010. Filed under: professions, Public Relations | Tags: , , |

This article appeared in Advertising Age and raises several interesting issues about ethics, personal and professional responsibility. The writer wrestles with his past involvement as copywriter for BP and current catastrophe in Gulf  of Mexico. Interesting that he ‘bought’ the original campaign – as I have done in the past, then wondered at the degree of identification with a set of arguments. I suspect self-persuasion and ego-defences kick in and this article reveals a damaged ego (the ID with dying pelicans for example). There are also interesting comments from others who have clearly shared the experience.

Will be useful material when I go to Aberdeen as part of a session on PR ethics for PRs in the oil industry!

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PR Review paper on Propaganda and PR

Posted on November 28, 2008. Filed under: Papers | Tags: , |

Does the EU need a propaganda watchdog like the US Institute of Propaganda Analysis to strengthen its democratic civil society and free markets?

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Published papers

Posted on August 28, 2008. Filed under: Papers | Tags: , , |

Pdf versions of papers can be found under Blogroll heading on main page – click on ‘papers’ for links

Public Relations Models and Persuasion Ethics: a new approach

This is a paper published in 2007, based on conference papers delivered at ICA, San Francisco (May 2007) and Alan Rawel/CIPR conferences (July 2007). It predates the PhD work but outlines some of the thinking that led to it, as does the Ethical Space article from 2006 (below)

Can ethics save public relations from the charge of propaganda?

Recent paper (Fall, 2008) by Johanna Fawkes and Kevin Moloney in Public Relations Review on PR & Propaganda (pl note copyright restrictions)

Does the European Union (EU) need a propaganda watchdog like the US Institute of Propaganda Analysis to strengthen its democratic civil society and free markets?

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