PRAD 255 - Module 3 - Ethics and Professionalism - Part 2


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ETHICS AND PROFESSIONALISM: WHY DO WE CARE? (PART 2) Principles of Public Relations Ragas

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Licensing and Accreditation While PR is generally viewed as a developing profession, there is no licensing requirement to practice The PR field is not the same as law or medicine in this regard PRSA started an accreditation program more than 40 years ago; Accredited in PR (APR credential) 20% of membership holds APR

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Astroturfing and front groups Front group: purported to be grass roots organizations which disguise or obscure the true identity of their members and financial support This behavior is known as “astroturfing”; as in conducting inauthentic grassroots activities Popular in environmental public policy debates Does the name “Northwesterners for More Fish” sound like it was formed by a group of environmentalists or a group of corporations?

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Disclosure and transparency The Arthur W. Page Society has issued a set of principles for communicating on the Web: Disclose any affiliations Offer opportunities for dialogue and interaction with experts Reveal the background of experts, disclosing any potential conflicts of interest or anonymous economic support of content Practice principled leadership in the digital world, adhering to the highest standards John Mackey, CEO and founder, Whole Foods

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Disclosure online is no longer just practicing good ethics October 2009, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published final guidelines on endorsements and testimonials – extends to blogger outreach: “The post of a blogger who receives cash or in-kind payment to review a product is considered an endorsement. Thus, bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service” (, 2009) Responsibility is on organization and PR professional to see that bloggers disclose relationship

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FTC and Ann Taylor LOFT FTC investigated Ann Taylor LOFT Bloggers invited to special event; offered chance for gift card to those who wrote about the event FTC decided not to take action – most bloggers disclosed; Ann Taylor updated its policy When in doubt, always disclose relationships or potential conflicts, and make sure everyone around you discloses as well!

Summary: PRAD 255 - Module 3 - Ethics and Professionalism - Part 2 (Matt Ragas)

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