Doug Haslam recently wrote a blog post about obsessiveness and it’s place in Public Relations that I found to be not only interesting but true. In his post he essentially says that in Public Relations objectivity is necessary and that as professionals we can achieve this while still being ethical.
The rules of journalism and the rules of PR are often seen as being the same but they are in fact very different. The job of Journalists is to inform the public of events world-wide. The role of a Public Relations practitioner is to inform the public about a specific organization or company. Despite their similarities these careers exist for two separate reasons.
The basic function of public relations is to be objective. By representing a specific company a PR practitioner automatically working for the benefit of the organization.
Now just because there is objectivity in PR doesn’t mean there isn’t ethics. These are also words with entirely different meaning that are jumbled together and often misused.
To be clear here are their definitions:
- Ethical (adj.) Involving or expressing moral approval or disapproval. Conforming to accepted standards of conduct.
- Objective (adj) Being the object or goal of one’s efforts or actions.
Despite the hesitancy to accept this fact by many, it is possible to be both ethical and objective. Just because Public Relations professionals have their company’s best interests in mind doesn’t mean they are unethical.