Posted by Amanda Chapel
CHICAGO, July 19 /WebNetNews/ -- At the 11th hour of a grueling marathon negotiation, a deal has finally been reached between the professional trade association, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), and the popular iconoclastic web publication, Strumpette.com. Although neither party would disclose the exact terms, it has been learned that essentially Amanda Chapel, the managing editor of Stumpette, will avoid censure by the organization.
By way of background, the problem started several months ago after Ms. Chapel was warned by several prominent members of the organization that her site was in violation of PRSA's Code of Ethics.
The root of the quarrel centers around whether the Strumpette site specifically violates PRSA's Code Provision for "Enhancing the Profession." The provision states that "public relations professionals work constantly to strengthen the public's trust in the profession." Moreover, "A member shall acknowledge that there is an obligation to protect and enhance the profession."
Chapel recently took an aggressive stand and turned the tables demanding that PRSA make an official determination.
Catherine A. Bolton, executive director of PRSA, rendered that decision Monday. It was determined that indeed Strumpette, and Ms. Chapel specifically, were and are not in violation of the provision. Bolton said, "You are welcome to any opinion you wish. You are not a member of PRSA and do not have to abide by our code of ethics."
Chapel said, "I think this is a milestone decision. Perhaps the business of PR is ready to be more honest with itself and more critical of its practices and the practices of its members."
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I long ago decided it was pr people willing to say anything to reporters willing to not fact check anything, or crunch PE numbers, which resulted in our first tech stock meltdown.
After all, how many former CEO's one graced the covers of Forbes and Fortune? (Our fortune as it turned out, post conviction.)
But in sharing the blame we mustn't be too quick to judge lazy reporters or pr people willing to sell their soul. After all, it's not as if the Congressional Ethics Committee has done anything of merit since it's inception now has it?
The P.R. profession takes a small and constructive step for each discussion held here. The decision by the PRSA is surprising common sense, although one senses a little brinkmanship, in which case the traffic here would have gone through the blogo/stratosphere should the decision have been otherwise.
Flicking through the code of ethics written around the turn of the last millennium or Internet 1.0 as it is nostalgically referred to by some communication professionals, I see that it advocates "We respect all opinions and support the right of free expression". It's a long winded document that could be summed up with a sentence or two on being fair and honest. But that's less fees and salaries for a bunch of P.R duffers, and the reason for legal retainers.
I'm surprised that as the code of ethics was written around the dot com boom era the PRSA might have been inclined to include a sentence on embracing advances in digital communications. More fun are the examples of improper conduct, such as "A member representing a ski manufacturer gives a pair of expensive racing skis to a sports magazine columnist, to influence the columnist to write favorable articles about the product."
I love the way that any mention of grass roots is in inverted commas. I doubt it's ironic but this is. The cheap skis are in the post Amanda, just turn left when you board the plane and keep walking to the end with the ticket I've included to Nairobi for a little safari action. You deserve a break.
Hey, that's like the AMA insisting doctors "only" "promote" the use of "medical" procedures--even when one isn't necessary. Oh wait, I think they do do that. Welcome to the world o' business!
Amen. Nothing gets me more annoyed than PR drones waxing poetic about ethics and professional standards. Half of the PR muffins I've met have the ethics of a high-end hooker -- without the payoff in the end.
If we are PR people, we have to be able to look in a mirror and see the pimples and wrinkles. We have to acknowledge that like lawyers, we will always be the subject of jokes and that frankly, the profession deserves much of what we get..