Ethics Month: Be Prepared

Every September, we celebrate Ethics Month to remind ourselves about the importance of ethics and the resources available to PRSA members. PRSA has a Code of Ethics we all agree to follow when we become members (if you need a refresher, check out the Code of Ethics online). And we have a group - PRSA’s Board of Ethics and Professional Standards (BEPS) – charged with developing resources and offering guidance to help us navigate ethical dilemmas.

One only needs to pick up a newspaper or turn on the news to know that this year’s theme, Be Prepared, is timely. It’s never been more important to have a plan in place to deal with questionable situations – whether they’re true or false. We can all cite examples of when a situation wasn’t handled well and even more damage was done.

As PR professionals, our role is to advise our clients when they want to do something that crosses the line. Sometimes, we also are called on when that line is crossed – or someone is accused of crossing the line. We can take steps to prepare for those situations to help our clients – and ourselves – come out on the other side.

BEPS has built a schedule full of great advice and opportunities to help you Be Prepared, including:

  • Ethics Counsel Today: No Boundaries – The line between right and wrong sometimes can be blurry – new technology and practices allow us to push the envelope. Join PRSA at 8 p.m. Sept. 4 for a Twitter chat that will examine and discuss the ways in which – and the reasons why – communicators today must be ever mindful of varying perceptions of what constitutes ethical practice. #EthicsMonth

  • How to Prepare a Personal Crisis Plan – How do you call out unethical or even unlawful behavior on the part of employer or client – without damaging your own career at the same time? This webinar, scheduled for 3 p.m. Sept. 13, guides PR practitioners through ethical dilemmas. The webinar will help you create a crisis preparedness plan, recognize situations that require advance preparation to preserve reputation, evaluate career opportunities based on the PRSA Code of Ethics and handle the aftermath of an ethics-based career crisis you didn't create. Register online.

  • PR Ethics Curriculum – Teaching students about ethics is critical to protecting the reputation of our profession. Join PRSA at 8 p.m. Sept. 18 for a Twitter chat hosted by the PRSA Educators Academy/Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) PR Division & AEJMC Media Ethics Division. #EthicsMonth

The Central Ohio Chapter celebrates ethics month, and I’m excited to connect our members with these resources and more. There’s more to come, so watch our communication channels – the blog, newsletter, website and social media – for additional resources, activities and information.

And as always, if you’re facing an ethical dilemma, your Ethics Officer is here to help! Feel free to reach out to ask questions about an ethical dilemma or share insight into how you’ve handled an ethical question.

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