Ohio University ImPRessions

Ohio University ImPRessions

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Keeping Ethics in Mind

March 18, 2014

ethicallyUnlike some professions, we as journalists/communicators do not have to be certified in any way to work. This is a gift and a curse for us. We don’t have anyone telling us what is right or wrong, instead we have to form our own ethical code alone. Fortunately there are organizations that help us out, but the ethical codes are either general or vary from company to company. We need to be aware of our ethics, and know when we have gone too far and crossed that invisible boundary. Unlike news and information journalism, PR professionals have to work with the client and the general public. With this in mind here are some ethical issues that you should be aware of when working in the field.

  • Independence: Independence is the biggest ethical problem a PR professional can face. You want to please your client and do as they wish, but you also have an obligation to communicate with the public in an effective manner. These two ideas don’t always match up. As professionals, we need to make decisions that will please both the client and the public. In most cases, both sides will have to give a little. There will be instances that one side will get the better end of the stick, but knowing you acted independently is better than knowing someone else influenced your decision. Make the decisions that you think are best. Having two mouths to feed makes it more difficult, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible.
  • Transparency: This is another major ethical dilemma for PR professionals. Again, being a barrier is difficult, but if you are open and communicate well with both parties, at least they know you aren’t hiding anything from them Let the public know why you make the decisions you do, and be sure that the client is always aware of your decisions. Transparency is key to a happy client relationship.
  • Honesty: The final ethical value I will talk about is the importance of being honest and truthful. Providing the truth and not deceiving the public is very important in PR. If the public finds out that the information is false or distorted, then they will lose trust in your client. Also remember to be honest with your client. If you don’t think something will work, tell him/her. Clients need to know what you think and how you can make it better. Otherwise it will only cause problems down the road. Truth is highly valued in our profession, so remember to always keep it a priority.

There are many other ethical values, but these three have a major impact on our work. I encourage you all to make up your own code of ethics to keep in mind. We all have different values so write down yours to refer back to it. If you need help visit the PRSA Code of Ethics to get some ideas.

Austin Ambrose is a freshman studying Journalism. He is an Assistant Account Executive for the College Book Store account and you can follow him on Twitter at @tex_ambrose7.

5 TED Talks to Inspire the PR PRo

December 18, 2013

TED Talks are multi-length videos featuring forward-thinkers in the professional world sharing their experiences and  knowledge.  As PR junkies, we are constantly looking for new ways to innovate and reach into the depths of our creativity.

These clips are a great way to hear about others’ discoveries and how they have climbed the ladder of success.  Here are a few TED Talks videos that could inspire you along your PR journey to achievement:

1. Amy Cuddy: Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are

Whether it was McDonalds or that dream internship, we all can recall the butterflies from our first interview.  Confidence is an obvious must to obtain a 5-star performance, but a simple change in your body language before that small step into the interrogation room could give you the confidence you thought only “that girl” had.

Amy Cuddy, a successful scientist, has studied human body language and how it affects our bodies and brains.  Her studies have shown that not only do others subconsciously judge you, but you also subconsciously judge yourself.  Powerful body language results in a powerful you!

2. Nigel Marsh: How to Make Work-life Balance Work

PR majors are some of the most innovative and dedicated people in the work force.  We are extremely passionate about our careers and it’s easy for us to become soaked up in the amazing work that we do.  Public Relations is a highly demanding career as all of us who are preparing to enter its thrilling dynamics know.  In order to live a happy life it’s important to remember to find your balance.

Nigel Marsh, CEO and author, relates his experience as a hard working professional to his overall happiness and success through 4 observations.  His words of wisdom encourage us to remember that the smallest investments in the right places can largely impact our quality of life.

3. Alexis Ohanian: How to Make a Splash in Social Media

This short video tells a tale about an environmental organization’s efforts to stop a Japanese whaling campaign.  Alexis Ohanian gives us insight through some unexpected repercussions of a “Mister Splashy Pants” whale meme and its surprising success.

What’s the secret to a great social media crusade? It’s simple: LOSE CONTROL!  Spreading awareness across social media puts all control in the hands of day to day social media users.  Sometimes losing that control, can cause a serious message to thrive in an astonishingly silly way.

4. The Happy Secret to Better Work

PR experts know that being average won’t get you far.  Shawn Achor, the CEO of Good Think Inc., believes society pushes us into a norm, and he wants to explore the outliers.  He inspires the audience to think differently about how they view their road to achievement.

With his comedic charm he preaches the steps to rewire our brains into believing happiness can lead us to success.   Next time when your brain is on PR overload, keep in mind that a positive attitude can produce progressive results.

5. How to Make Stress Your Friend

Stress. WOW. I know I don’t even have to say it, but we all can relate to high stress lives, even more so as prospective PR pros.  Kelly McGonigal, a Stanford clinical psychologist, has studied stress and has landed on some amazing discoveries about our thoughts toward our stress levels and how these thoughts can impact our health.

The key is how you look at it! Negative stress can be a killer (literally), but viewing your stress positively can actually cause your body to mimic its reaction to joy and happiness.

-Jillian Kata is a sophomore studying strategic communication. Follow her at @jil_k.


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