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September 13, 2010

PRSA Code of Ethics Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Member Code Has Become Public Relations Industry’s De Facto Guide to Ethical Conduct

YORK (Sept. 13, 2010) — The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)’s member Code of Ethics, which has come to be widely regarded as the public relations industry’s de facto guide to ethical conduct, is celebrating a decade of service in September with several events designed to draw attention to its core values, principles and practice guidelines.
“Our current Code of Ethics was written by a special committee of the Society’s Board of Ethics and Professional Standards (BEPS) in 2000 and approved by the organization’s Assembly in 2001,” says PRSA Chair and CEO Gary McCormick, APR, Fellow PRSA. “It’s one of the most explicit codes of conduct followed by communications professionals today.”
McCormick said that PRSA first drafted a Code of Ethics in 1950. At that time, the Code included provisions for enforcement, which proved to be cumbersome and expensive. Today, the PRSA Code of Ethics is educational and aspirational, rather than punitive.
To keep its Code of Ethics current, PRSA periodically issues Professional Standards Advisories (PSAs)—updates to the code based on evolving technology and changing social and professional mores. Recent PSAs have dealt with everything from deceptive online practices to “greenwashing” to “pay for play.”
Once each year, usually in September, PRSA and its 111 local Chapters spotlight the PRSA Code of Ethics with special events and seminars and meetings about the meaning and practice of ethics. This September, PRSA is conducting weekly “Tweet Chats” focused on ethics and using its blog, PRSAY, to discuss ethics-related issues. In addition, the fall issue of PRSA’s quarterly publication, The Strategist, will feature recollections from the original BEPS members responsible for revising the code.
PRSA also has sent a series of Ethics Moments to its local Chapters, to assist them in engaging members in relevant, issues-oriented scenarios regarding the importance of ethical behavior.
About the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
With more than 31,000 members, PRSA is the largest organization of public relations professionals and students. PRSA is comprised of 111 local Chapters organized into 10 geographic Districts; 16 Professional Interest Sections that focus on issues, trends and research relevant to specialized practice areas, such as technology, health care, financial communications, entertainment and sports, and travel tourism; and the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), which has more than 300 Chapters at colleges and universities in the United States and abroad. PRSA is headquartered in New York.
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