Monday, October 17, 2016

Corporate Journalism Takeover

Perry Yert
October 18, 2016

When determining whether PR is ethical or not, we can refer to the article Follow the Leader: Ethics and Responsibility. Virgil Scudder (2011) proposed a few questions, "Does the corporate culture encourage addressing problems head-on, reporting them, taking responsibility and initiating steps to fix them? Or does it reward cutting corners and covering things up? Employee behavior will follow the culture that management creates." 

These questions are guidelines we can follow when overviewing PR companies. For a company to be successful, its leader has to present itself to the company and its clients as both responsible and ethical. If a leader is not acting as such, it is contagious throughout the office atmosphere. This statement can be synthesized with the article Public Relations Strategist. The Rupert Murdoch scandal is addressed, and it concludes that a company cannot create a reputable culture without a strong leader example for employers. All members must be held to the same high standard, including the high management positions. Chances are, if clients find out they are not being represented by an ethical company, word will spread and your reputation and work will be associated with such behavior. 

As a PR professional, it is consistent to have intense pressure put on you in the workplace. After all, your client's reputation and your company's is in your hands. There is always pressure from not only your company, but society and other competing PR companies to always be the best and come out with the next best idea. Aside from all of these constricting factors, your job is to remain accountable for your work. You must remain ethical and responsible at all times for the content you present. Failing to do so will lead to a hindering in your career. 

As the audience and potential clients one day, we rely on PR professionals to take care of this for us. We look to them for the truth, good work, and ethical decision-making. A company can have a mission statement, but without following these values and expressing that voice to their audience, this mission statement stands for nothing. A company needs to be consistent with its mission and will only be successful by always representing themselves in that light. In the article A New Era For Communication Values, Shane McLaughlin discusses the importance of the employee-client relationship. The quote "I want to do business with people of character and integrity, people I respect" by Campbell touches on the importance of relationships, along with profitability. With consistent and valued relationships, companies upholding their values excel financially more so than any of their competition. 

Frederic Filloux of Quartz discusses the idea that corporate journalism overrides branded content and advertising. PR professionals have a growing obligation of covering many aspects of corporate journalism in their careers. Companies are looking for those who have more than just knowledge in Public Relations, but writing, social media, analytics, earned media, etc. Being able to brand content, or giving a story to a product, is what is on the rise for social media. If PR professionals can do this, they support goal congruence with the idea of corporate journalism. 


This video shows how REI went against the norm and told a story with their brand. Being a company who has outdoor products, they use this to their advantage. They tell a story with their company and engage their audience. They were one of the only companies to opt out of black friday shopping and Edelman help their brand by creating a hash tag #optoutside. This became a trending topic that others follow. The negative aspect of opting out of Black Friday became positive and soon companies after followed. 

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