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TUNING IN

A blog dedicated to the world of broadcast and public relations

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Staying Ethical in an Era of Declining Trust

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According to a recent article published on the Public Relation’s Society of America’s blog PR Tactics, public trust in various institutions is declining. The article looked at several studies that proved that the public has trust issues with today’s government and business. On June 30, a New York Times columnist, David Brooks, wrote that a new era of peer-to-peer commerce is emerging where people are finding new trust in the evaluations of their peers. He calls it “a personalistic culture in which people have lost trust in big institutions.”

The 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer supports Brooks. According to the Trust Barometer, trust in government is down 37% and trust in business dropped 58%. According to ING’s 2014 Social Media Impact Survey, journalists have doubt in institutions as well. “Half of the responding journalists said that they find consumer opinion more reliable than official statements from organizations.” Even though the journalists have confidence in the public, the feeling is not mutual. A Gallup Poll found that from 1979 to now, confidence in the media has dropped 32%.

Ethics

PRSA recognizes the problems this poses for those of us in the profession and offers up some solutions and tips. Chair of PRSA’s Board of Ethics & Professional Standards, George L. Johnson, encourages all professionals to honor the PRSA Code of Ethics and to live, and work, by its fundamental values of advocacy, honesty, expertise, independent, loyalty and fairness. Johnson says that the BEPS is coming up with ways to make the PRSA Code of Ethics more relevant to today’s PR practices, by including items such as social media practice.

News Generation team members, recently discussed their views on ethics in PR in a three-part video blog series. Here, Susan Apgood, Jeff Gibbons, and Kelsey Pospisil, discuss their professional principles and how they live by them in both their career and personal life.

Stay tuned…

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