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September 02, 2005



The PR program at Auburn University puts emphasis on teaching the ethics of our profession through classes. We learn about the standards set by PRSA's Code of Ethics. The guideline is a great way for those who are affiliated with PRSA, but not all PR professionals are a member of this group. If we could be assured of a uniform code of ethics, there would be no need to worry about transparency, but that just isn't the case.

Truth vs Transparency: People want to know what's going on. An organization can use free dialogue with the audience to enhance reputation, and build relationships. I agree on the need for honest dealings from the top down. Business are more like gamblers, they don't want to show their cards all at once. They would prefer to mete out truth one snippet at a time. By forcing organizations to be transparent, we could affect their ability to stay competitive, and even negatively affect their reputation.

The environment we work in calls for news to be sensational for it to 'sell.' People need to be entertained by scandal and action to pay any attention (small overstatement). This mindset is a shaky foundation to require complete transparency as small aspects can be misunderstood, or opposing groups scandalize an irrelevant issue.

I think this is an interesting/engrossing topic that can be debated at length. I don't think a blanket requirement or regulation would help our profession, but learning how to use the concept while setting goals and objectives would help build our reputation and effectiveness.

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