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Hi Anthony, I think you misinterpreted my intent. My intent was to say, we expected the criticism. We also expected expressions of support, which we’ve received.
In terms of ethics as a PRSA priority, since you mentioned it, PRSA hosted in September its annual “Ethics Awareness Month,” which seeks to inform and educate the public relations profession about ongoing issues and concerns regarding ethics. PRSA wrote a series of commentaries and blog posts, held discussions, hosted webinars and developed other events that helped public relations professionals, as well as the clients they serve and the public they interact with, better understand the evolving issues surrounding public relations ethics and how their work can meet the profession’s high ethical standards.
The 2011 “Ethics Awareness Month” also featured a weekly Tweet chat series, the first of which PRSA and the Chartered Institute of Public Relations co-hosted. This helped expand the discussion to an international level and provide better understanding of the global nature of public relations ethics.
The ethical use of interns was another major issue we tackled in 2011. We released a Professional Standards Advisory in February, in which we made clear our belief that it is unethical not to provide some type of compensation to interns, whether monetary or college credit.
These efforts complemented and extended the impact of PRSA’s advocacy efforts, through which PRSA used a series of ethical transgressions on the part of the profession as teachable moments to demonstrate what constitutes ethical practice (and what doesn’t), and reinforce the importance of ethical communications practices. In fact, I'd challenge you to find another U.S. public relations organization who commented publicly on the Facebook/Burson whisper campaign, on public relations firms representing dictatorial regimes, on the use of fake news sites, or on any of the other issues that PRSA tackled last year.
3 years ago on PRSA Response to PR Definition Criticism
@Lisa Gerber Sorry, Lisa. Trying to keep the Alabama legislature happy and responding in between.Thanks for your patience and understanding.
@Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing Hi Jayme, hopefully, having attempted to do the same thing that we're now doing, you can empathize with the difficulty of developing a single definition that everyone can agree on. And, I truly didn't and don't mean to be dismissive of your effort in any way, but let's talk about your proposed definition. A few people liked it, and a few people commented but didn't endorse it either way. I didn't comment, so shame on me, but I personally don't like it, and couldn't see using it to explain to my boss what it is he's paying me to do. (Doesn't mean it "sucks," though, and even if I thought that, I wouldn't say it.)
That's my point. Not everyone will like our definition, just like not everyone likes yours. Doesn't make ours right and yours wrong, or yours wrong and ours right. Just makes them different, based how you perceive what it is you do, and how the group of individuals participating in our process perceive what it is they do.
@Frank_Strong While we may disagree on this, I do appreciate your service to our country, and I mean that sincerely. I hear you and understand that a number of people are dismissive of the proposed definitions. But a larger number of people contributed their proposed definitions to the process and have felt good enough about the definitions as they exist to vote on them.
The definitions we put forward accurately reflect the larger group's views. The research is sound. Does that make them wrong, because you disagree with them? At the end of the day, you're asking us to jettison their views for yours. I'm just not sure how that solves the problem. After all, who's to say that they won't disagree with your preferred definition, or anyone else's?
It's also worth noting that we put in place a two-week period for public comment on the candidate definitions, for the express purpose of allowing people to air criticisms like those being expressed here. Many, many people offered comments, and many of them were as simple as saying, I like this one, or I like that one.
What's more, this is PRSA's definition, which we invited the profession to help us develop. In no way does that mean the discussion ends here. Frankly, we don't want it to, and I'm sure it won't. We simple hope that people will use our definition as a starting point, and put into the unique context of what they do and how they do it.
@Frank_Strong Frank -- I appreciate your interest in this project and your passion. All of us here want to further the profession to which we’ve dedicated ourselves. As I said, we’ll be judged by our performance, and not by how we define ourselves.
We did employ the brains of some of the top leaders in our field as we wanted counsel on how it was best to synthesize 1,000 different suggestions into three definitions. The 12 organizations cooperating with PRSA on this project noted that the “standard” dictionary definitions of marketing and advertising contained the same basic elements: they [DO WHAT] with/for [WHOM] to [DO WHAT] for [WHAT PURPOSE], and we collectively agreed that those elements should be present in a modern definition of public relations. I don’t see that as prejudicial in the manner that you do.
The genesis of the project did have some parameters, but every post had a comment field where individuals could (and did) suggest definitions that didn’t fit the form. And every single submission was reviewed and considered. I would also respectfully disagree with your assertion that we feel the definitions are sub-optimal; that's a different interpretation of my post. My point was, whatever definitions we put forward, we are never going to make 100% of the professionals happy; that there is some criticism is no surprise. That’s the nature of the beast, and we accepted that fact as we embarked on this democratic project. As with any democracy, opinions vary and are many. At the end, what triumphs is the majority decision, which is exactly what we've done with this crowdsourcing initiative.
I’ll gladly acknowledge some of the criticisms are coming from PRSA’s own diverse community of more than 32,000 members, which unfortunately doesn’t include you. As Gini likes to tell her critics, and I’m paraphrasing, “Thanks for your feedback. How would you like to be involved?”