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Ethics in the Age of Social Media

October 2, 2013

By Kelsy Pazur, Director of PR & Marketing for Franklin Street

Change is the only constant—and in the world of ethics, that means a never-ending need for an updated code of standards.

Bob Frause

Bob Frause

In light of National Ethics Month, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Tampa Bay hosted a luncheon “Ethics in the Age of Social Media,” at Brio Tuscan Grill on September 25. On the rainy Wednesday afternoon, Bob Frause, chairman and CEO of Seattle public relations firm Frause, and former chairman of the PRSA Board of Ethics and Professional Standards, spoke to more than 30 professionals about the importance of ethics and transparency for today’s PR practitioners.
Frause opened up the discussion with a quote most of us have heard from our mother’s growing up, “if it feels wrong, it is wrong.” He said that while the mandates for ethics continue to be updated, some things stay true when it comes to being ethical, “basically, don’t lie or deceive,” he said.

Attendees were presented with the Code of Ethics from PRSA, the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA). While each group had different ways of describing their values, and principles, they all require their members adhere to transparency and honesty. “As journalists, our responsibility is to treat the community as the end—not the means to an end,” said Kelly McBride, co-editor of recently released, “The New Ethics of Journalism: Principles for the 21st Century,” which provides a new set of ethical guidelines and principles for journalists, communicators and students—according to her website www.kellymcbride.com.

All PRSA members are required to sign and abide by the PRSA Member Code of Ethics which can be found here.

To read more about this month’s ethic’s program, visit the article written by Tampa Bay Business Journal’s Editorial Assistant, Jo-Lynn Brown. You can also visit the Disclosure Toolkit, which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License, that we attribute it to SocialMedia.org.

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