Sunday, October 6, 2013
It’s All About the Truth
There have been many stories where a PR Professional handles a situation poorly. They lie, or cheat or play the blame game. Public relations can be known as the dark side of journalism. Some people have a common misconception that all public relations professionals do whatever they can to please their client. This is not the case, most ethical public relations professionals handle controversial or sensitive issues that their client is involved in well.
PR VS. Journalism
Public relations professionals do more than put together a media kit or write a press release. Journalism and PR might be seen as two sides of the same coin. When Googling public relations, a UNCP website came up and said, “One side has news it wants to get out and the other side needs news to cover. It can be a symbiotic relationship.” I think that this is a very accurate statement.
Public relations professionals do not always do the right thing. According to the McLaughlin article “when situations get sticky stakeholders go looking for accountability, they blame those at the top,” even if they are not credible.
In fact, there is an entire website pertaining to public relations disasters. Although public relations professionals may not always do the right thing for that particular situation they are dealing with, most of them correct their mistakes, or go out of there way to fix it. One participant in the Bulldog Reporter noted that "I can't afford to lose my credibility … As PR professionals, it's all we have. And if I lose my credibility here, it's not like I can just go start over with someone else, somewhere else."
Somebody has to take the blame and there are factors that can cause even honest and decent people to break the rules, such as intense pressure by management to reach unrealistic goals or targets, demands that they must consistently beat the competition, management’s willingness to overlook small but persistent breaches of policy or ethics if the employee gets results, and the fear of job loss or internal competitive disadvantage.
There are situations where people can’t reasonably hold management accountable for moral or legal breaches by an employee. This is the case when a single employee or small group goes outside the company’s clearly established boundaries and norms, according to the PRSA piece.
Photo Credit: enjoylifefoodsblog.com
It is important to trust your public relations professional. Your reputation is ultimately in their hands. If a crisis were to happen to your company, you would want somebody that you trust to handle that situation. If the public relations professional that you trust has questionable history with how they handled their other client’s crisis, you may want to consider getting a new one. You both have to be on the same page with how to handle a problem, so you can take the best approach to it and hopefully succeed. Make sure that your public relations professional is credible, trustworthy and honest, if they aren’t you may find yourself with another scandal on your hands.