As a new public relations practitioner, you may find yourself in situations where you are not sure what to do, or worse, you know that what you are being asked to do is unethical.

This quick list will help to learn the basics of ethical PR practices and provide a variety of resources to ensure that you start and maintain your career with a focus on practicing ethical standards.

You have a responsibility to uphold the professionalism of the PR industry. Your peers, clients, and customers, (including citizens, constituents, and journalists) will hold you to a higher standard. Make sure that you are meeting their expectations in your daily practice.

Topics, ideas, and values that you need to be keenly aware of if you are going to call yourself a public relations professional are:

  • Professional Values
  • Advocacy
  • Honesty
  • Expertise
  • Independence
  • Loyalty
  • Fairness
  • Free Flow of Information
  • Competition
  • Disclosure of Information
  • Safeguarding Confidences
  • Conflicts of Interest
  • Enhancing the Profession
  • Diversity

Steps that you need to take to ensure you are conducting yourself and your business in an ethical manner include:

  1. Reading the PRSA Code of Ethics, even if you are not a member.
  2. Understanding the ethics of journalism and media.
  3. Understanding & avoiding the pitfalls of pitching media relations by learning from available sources, such as The Secret to Effective Media PitchesBuilding Better Media Relationships, and Media Relations 101.
  4. Continuing to grow professionally and to stay engaged in your own professional development by reading and engaging with a variety of practitioners.
  5. Use knowledge and research to educate your peers and clients on why you practice PR with high ethical standards. Study organizations and read leading articles, such as the following:

Professional resources for practicing PR with high ethical standards :