Ethics and PR


If someone were to look up the definition of ethics they would find that it means the moral philosophy and principles that govern a person’s or group’s behavior. This is classified as the general perception of what ethics is in society. In the public relations discipline, ethics is considered to be things including different values such as honesty, openness, loyalty, fair-mindedness, respect, integrity, and forthright communication. Being that public relations is the professional maintenance of a favorable public image by a company, different organizations, and people ethics and being ethically responsible plays a key role in this profession.

In the article Professional Corporate Practice (Pre-1986) the general idea about ethics and the public relations aspect explained that the rules of conduct is especially pertinent in the practice of a profession since professions generally receive licensure from governmental agencies. Mason (Pre-1986) said “there is a responsibility to sever both the public interest and the profession in the highest manner.” Meaning that going about the way you conduct yourself ethically in your profession is one of a top priority. This article just brings up the history on ethics and how it has been around for a long time now.

From research by Bowen (2007) she documented the following: “In the US, early public relations practices introduced many ethical concerns because the press agentry (J. E. Grunig & Hunt, 1984) approach prevalent then emphasized hyperbole, sensationalism, and often lacked truth. The so-called “father of public relations,” Edward Bernays, called this time period of 1850-1905 “the public be damned era” (Cutlip et al., 2006). Press agents were concerned with generating publicity at almost any cost, and this approach engendered the unethical reputation of modern-day public relations. Ethics as a consideration entered the development of modern practice in about 1906, with prominent practitioner Ivy Lee’s declaration of principles. His declaration moved the practice into “the public be informed” era with his emphasis on telling the truth and providing accurate information.” This began the evolution of ethics and PR, so that there were clear principles for the profession.

On the PRSSA website there are different sections in which the PRSSA Code of Ethics/Conduct is stated. The Public Relations Student Society of America guidelines were modeled by the parent organization, PRSA. It was created to help members navigate ethical principles and applications, which is regarded as the industry standard.


Bowen, S. A. (2007, October 30). Ethics and Public Relations. In Institute of Public Relations. Retrieved April 21, 2014, from

Mason, E. (1970). Professional corporation practice–ethics and public relations. New York Certified Public Accountant (Pre-1986), 40(000012), 988. Retrieved from

PRSSA, . (2010). Public Relations Ethics Guidance for the Future Practitioner. In Public Relations Student Society of America. Retrieved from

Diversity in PR


Diversity means being diverse or having a variety. Something for the profession of PR that would be very beneficial is having a very diverse core group, it is essential because of the vast growth within the profession. What this does is it gives PR the edge to see the viewpoints of the different ethnicity, which relates to cultural factors such as nationality, culture, ancestry, language and beliefs. According to Ford (2005) achieving greater diversity with PRSA and the profession is a priority for society. In the article it was explained that diversifying public relations is to understand how African Americans, Asian and Hispanic/Latino PR practitioners feel about such diversity initiatives. The study that was done asked the participants how diversity is perceived in PR. One of the discussion group responders said “corporations and agencies need to lead the way in promoting healthy acceptance of diverse cultures” (Ford 2005).

In 2011 PRSA Chair and CEO Rosanna M. Fisk, had a letter to the editor published in the June 2011 issue of PRWeek which was a response to PRWeek’s May 2011 editorial on improving diversity within public relations agencies (PRWeek Letter to editor, 2011). This letter from Rosanna was basically to reaffirm PRSA’s commitment to increasing diversity in public relations. She also noted “the Society is doing extensive work to educate the business community about the value of diverse communications campaigns” (2011). As it is demonstrated there are efforts to increase the diversity of PRSA and the profession.

In an interesting article by (Holmes 2013) something that jumped off the page was that he doesn’t think PR is headed to a more diverse work setting. He’s been a PR practitioner since 1995, yet feels as if nothing has changed since he began his career. Holmes (2013) said “according to US Census Bureau, African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians and Native Americans will make up 36.5 percent of the US population and have an estimated combined spending power of $3.6 trillion by 2020.  Therefore, it is inconceivable to me how an all-white advertising, marketing or PR firm can, in good faith, believe it is adequately staffed to service global brands whose consumers are increasingly diverse with their own distinct cultural nuances.” This was just interesting to see the viewpoint of someone from a different ethnic background about how they perceive PR and the diversity of the profession.


Ford, R. L. (2005). Study examines improving diversity in public relations. Public Relations Tactics, 12(7), 6.

Hayes, L. (2013, February 25). Lack Of Diversity Is PR Industry’s Dirty Little Secret . In The Holmes Report . Retrieved from

PRSA committed to increasing diversity in public relations — PRWeek letter to the editor. (2011, Jun 14). Targeted News Service. Retrieved from

PR Definition Past/Present


When I first stepped into CAP 220 Fundamentals of Public Relations honestly I had no clue what to expect or exactly what PR meant. Through the process of blogging and reading the class “Think: Public Relations” literature book I’ve learn more about public relations throughout the semester. The various blogs that I had to write on were things like, Crisis in PR, Ethics in PR, Diversity in PR, and Career Aspirations in PR. With the information that was found while researching for these blogs through the GVSU data base and Google search engine I gained a better understanding of what public relations was really about.

For the section about crisis an article that I found to help me better understand the elements of how to handle a crisis in PR was written by Blythe (2004). In the article he stated “crisis management is the umbrella term that encompasses all activities involved when an organization prepares for and responds to a significant critical incident. An effective crisis management program should be consistent with the organization’s mission and integrate plans such as Emergency Response, Business Continuity, Crisis Communications, Disaster Recovery, Humanitarian Assistance, etc.” Reading up on what those things are help with what is exactly involved in handling a crisis from a PR stand point.

Another thing was the blog done on career aspirations with the PR field. Previously I knew nothing about what kind of careers those who were involved in PR would pursue or be in. Through researching and finding not only the careers in PR but what to do so that you are successful in PR. The first article was by Mary Ellen (2011), on what one must do to be successful in PR. Which listed off things such as thinking strategically, knowing what is your end goal is and how do you get there, seek internships, and many other things were listed. The other article was written by Todd Hunt (2006) in which he talked about the many different careers within PR.

Through these different activities, blogs, and readings my definition of PR from the past at the beginning of class is completely different from my present definition of PR.


Blythe, B. (2004, January). Integrated Crisis Management Defined. Crisis Managment International, 61. Retrieved February 18, 2014, from

Ellen, M. (2011, March 20). How to get a job in Public Relations: Eleven tips from a PR pro. Retrieved April 12, 2014, from

Hunt, T. (2006). Public Relations, Careers in. Encyclopedia of Communication and Information, 3, 786-788. Retrieved April 6, 2014, from

Career Aspirations in PR


Some brief history about careers for PR has been said to have been around for centuries.  According to the Institute for Career Research (2005) in the United States, developers and settlers of the original 13 colonies were the first PR people, urging others to make their fortune in the New World. Also, later residents stated their grievances against British rule and made the case for independence, not only internally– rallying citizens to the cause—but externally, gaining allies abroad. Diplomats, politicians, pamphleteers and landowners all practiced public relations to form the new nation.

The Institute for Career Research (2005) noted that, one of the biggest parts of any public relations job is trying to place stories in the media. You have to think everything through, imagining all the negatives as well as the positives. As stated by (Hunt 2006) there is a wide range of career opportunities for people working in public relations including such jobs as media relation specialist for an insurance company, newsletter editor for an urban renewal agency, special events coordinator for a hotel, sports information director for a university, writer-editor for a public relations agency, community relations coordinator for a hospital, fund-raiser for the American Red Cross, speechwriter for a U.S. senator, and freelancer specializing in the preparation of video news releases. With all of these different job titles they all possess different responsibilities.

The more traditional way of looking at jobs within the ever changing field of PR is a view of the hierarchy of roles in the profession being, an entry-level technician which is someone who uses skills to disseminate information, persuade, gather data, or solicit feedback. The role of a supervisor is another doing exactly what the title means by supervising. There’s a manager in which their job is constituency and issue-trend analysis, departmental management, including organizing, budgeting, leading, controlling, evaluating, and problem solving.

A director has a similar job but they are also involved with communication and operational planning at departmental level. The top role is of an executive which is involved in organizational leadership and management, including developing the organizational vision, corporate mission, strategic objectives, annual goal, businesses, broad strategies, policies and systems.

There is always the possibility of those that have a career in PR to bounce around these organizational roles. If one was to seeking to break into a PR profession there were 11 tips that were advised by (Ellen 2011) which was to: “1. Think strategically, what is your end goal and how do you get there. 2. Seek internships, 3. Set yourself up for success, 4. Communicate with communicators, 5. Study the thought leaders, 6. Innovate, 7. Learn something new, 8. Show kindness, 9.Follow journalist, 10. Know your strengths and weaknesses and focus on your strengths, and 11. Create your personal brand.” With that being said a person entering the field of public relations has the oppurtunity to develop a career that encompasses numerous areas of an increasingly diverse profession. Some specific areas that you may find a PR professional working in would be corporations, non-profits/charities, education, professional services, government, public relation firms, or self-employed/freelance. If an individual does have career aspirations within the field of PR, there is no doubt it is endless possibilities to do so.


Ellen, M. (2011, March 20). How to get a job in Public Relations: Eleven tips from a PR pro – See more at: In MarketingMel. Retrieved April 6, 2014, from

Hunt, T. (2006). Public Relations, Careers in. Encyclopedia of Communication and Information3, 786-788. Retrieved April 6, 2014, from

Institute for Career, R. (2005). Careers in Public Relations (Institute Research ed., Vol. 136). Chicago: Institute for Research.

Health in PR


There are two types of organizations in the health sector. The first type is hospitals, some in which are non-profit organizations and some in which are for-profit businesses. Fritz (2014) stated the following: “the difference between a non-profit organization and for-profit organization is that non-profit has a mission that’s supposed to benefit the “greater good” of the community, society, or the world. With a non-profit organization they do not pay taxes, but they can’t use the funds for anything other than for the mission, in which it was initially created for. Although non-profit organizations have the capability to generate and make profit, it can only be used solely for the operation of the organization. For-profit organizations sole purpose is to make money through trade of goods or services.”

It is said that organizations that are for-profit are obligated to pay taxes on the money that is earned. If a for-profit organization goes out of business, its assets can be liquidated and the proceeds are distributed to the owners or the shareholders. When a non-profit goes out of business, its remaining assets must be given to another similar non-profit organization.

The other type of organizations within a health sector is comprised of private and government health agencies, which serve public interest by providing health care, funding for health initiatives, and oversight. Some examples of health agencies that we are most familiar with are Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and a more recent type The Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA), also known as ObamaCare. There are also health campaigns that set out to prevent and respond to diseases, promote health and the quality of life, and growth of online health information.

Most health agencies face much debate on the worth or importance of it, but not as much as (PPACA) because other agencies have been around for a while now. From a website document ObamaCare (2014) is an “Act” signed into law on March 23rd of 2010. Its purpose is to grant Americans a number of new benefits, rights, and protection and ensure that more US citizens have access to affordable, quality healthcare.

What’s in question about ObamaCare is whether or not the cost outweighs the benefits. Kimberly (2014) listed some pros and cons about this act those being: “the welfare of the average American is said to be a pro side, but those making more money including larger firms and their employees may notice negative financial effects, which is considered a con.” There are numerous article on this subject matter that can be found from the web. For the sake or PR this is huge in the aspect of trying to bring about a positive image of how beneficial ObamaCare can be if adopted for not only the economy but Americans, only time will tell if this is beneficial for not only Americans, but for the economy.


Amadeo, K. (2014). What Is Obamacare?. In Retrieved from

Fritz, J. (2014). How Is a Nonprofit Different from a For-Profit Business?. In Retrieved April 21, 2014, from

ObamaCare: Pros and Cons of ObamaCare (2014). In ObamaCare Facts. Retrieved April 21, 2014, from



     Crisis is anything considered to be difficult or a dangerous situation. Some examples of a crisis are accidents, terrorist attacks, disease epidemics and natural disasters. Those are some of the more major crisis, the more small-scale crisis are events such as job loss, unplanned pregnancy, disability, sudden death of a friend or a family member and severe illness. While all of these crises occur in our everyday lives we find a way to manage them, sometimes unconsciously we handle the more minor problems. This is typically known as unconscious competence, according to (Spool 2011) it is a person who has internalized all the knowledge and can utilize their understanding without active thought or concentration, as an unconsciously competent person you complete your tasks with grace and speed.

In your everyday life you may face a few small crisis such as leaving the house without your purse or wallet, take a wrong turn causing you to head in the wrong direction, or even rushed to class because you’re late and forget to brush your teeth. These are all examples of what you may face but somehow you solve that current problem. The ways that one may solve a problem as such is through crisis management, according to a CMI staff writer (2006) is the process that a business, individuals or organizations prepares for, and respond to sudden emergencies and critical situations. There is also the aspect of conflict management which correlates with crisis management expect its more about looking into a problem eliminating the negatives and seeing a the positive things that could potentially come from the situation.

As you look around the world today you can see a crisis that is either something very minor to being major. A more recent crisis that has been in the news these past couple years is the Florida “stand your ground law.” Within the Legislature of Florida, the law states that you have the right to protect your home; use of deadly force; presumption of fear of death or great bodily harm. This is being widely debated on whether or not this law is unjust.

     The two most recent cases in which this law became a wide-spread controversy is the George Zimmerman case, originally the case went to trail in 2012 and the jury didn’t reach a verdict till July of 2013. The other case was recently with a man by the name of Michael Dunn who killed a teenager because his music was “too loud.” Whether or not these men are guilty of the crimes committed the stand your ground law is being widely debated, from the outside looking end maybe this law that was pioneered in 2005 needs to be change.

Blythe, B. (2004, January). Integrated Crisis Management Defined. Crisis Managment International, 61. Retrieved February 18, 2014, from

Ford, D. (2013, July 15). A verdict and more: Get caught up on the George Zimmerman case. In CNN. Retrieved February 18, 2014, from
Jonsson, P. (2014, February 17). Dunn ‘loud music’ verdict: Does ‘stand your ground’ ask the impossible?. In The Christian Science Monitor . Retrieved February 18, 2014, from
Legislature, U. (2014). Florida Statues. Florida, FL: The Florida Legislature. Retrieved February 18, 2014, from
Spool, J. (2011, November 16). The Flexibility of the Four Stages of Competence. In User Interface Engineering . Retrieved February 18, 2014, from