Don’t Go Breaking My Heart: Ethics in PR

We have all told a lie.

“No, I didn’t eat the last cookie, I only had one!”

“Yes I’m fine, I’m just tired.”

“Seriously I didn’t do it!”

We all can admit it and that’s okay. Little white lies have always been a part of our lives but as future public relations practitioners, we have to stray away from the bad habit.

Public relations and ethics go hand-in-hand. PR ethics are the “standards of conduct that indicate how one should behave based on moral duties and virtues.” In other words, PR practitioners should behave ethically or “correctly” toward the public/clients. Most importantly, and included in the ethics of PR, is to NEVER lie. Lying can badly bruise the company with which you are involved in and forever scar your reputation.

“So how do we know if we are being ethical or not?”

Great question! Fortunately for PR professionals, there are a list of “rules,” so to speak, that can be followed. The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) created a list of codes, called the PRSA Code of Ethics, in which “members pledge to core values, principles and practice guidelines that define their professionalism and advance their success.” However you don’t have to be a member to follow the codes. The document includes five core ethical values that must followed in order to be ethical, according to their standards. These are advocacy, honesty, expertise, independence, loyalty, and fairness. These codes are the core of how to behave ethically. There are others that could be included and that is your personal choice to make.

Ethics of the world are always changing but we can be certain that our stand on lying will never change. We all hate being lied to, it even may break someone’s heart. Lying in PR will break bonds, relationships, and maybe even some hearts in the business world. It is important to remember the five values and cherish them, for they are the key to being successful in public relations.


About kaykays8

Hello, my name is Kayla. I am currently attending Indiana State University. I will be majoring in Communication with concentration in Public Relations. I plan to minor in Language Studies. I am a member of Alpha Lambda Delta, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, the Golden Key International Honour Society, and PRSSA. In the future my goal is to have a job in Indiana. However I would be delighted to travel for any company. My dream is to work for the growing fitness industry. I would also be interested in working with health professionals. I am creative and have a passion for health and fitness which will help reach my goals.
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2 Responses to Don’t Go Breaking My Heart: Ethics in PR

  1. pgibbons8 says:

    I agree that lying in PR has no room. One of the biggest ground rules in this field is to always tell the truth. Even if it does not always look favorable upon the company that you are representing it is always important to tell the truth, because in the long run it will make things better for not only the business you are representing but as well as yourself which is also a vital part.


  2. leiselyoung says:

    I completely agree that in the Public Relations realm there is absolutely no room for lying, no matter how minute the lie may seem. “Little white lies” are lies nonetheless, and cannot be justified in PR. Being transparent and one-hundred percent honest will benefit both the company and individual. You can never go wrong by telling the truth.


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