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February 23, 2011

The PR Society of America responds to my email policy

Prsa The PRSA sent this response to my post requesting that PR clean up its industry.

Notionally, we support this call to action, as we do any effort that helps advance the public relations profession. However, PRSA's main mission as a membership organization is professional development and education. We have focused our efforts and resources on providing our members and the broader public relations industry with ethical guidance, best practices and resources that help them perform their jobs ethically, rather than engaging in punitive measures for those who fall afoul. To that end, there are laws that address the mass sending of commercial e-mails, but PRSA is not set up as a legislative body.

Since 1950, PRSA has had a Code of Ethics that reflects the differences between right and wrong in the profession, and it is routinely updated to address modern challenges and concerns affecting the media, public relations professionals, the public, businesses and various other publics that are impacted by public relations. You may have seen our recently unveiled Social Media Policy, part of which offers our members and the broader profession best practices concerning blogger relations.

Our mission is not to kick people out of PRSA for ethical lapses. Using ethical missteps as educational tools is far more beneficial from our point of view.  

Arthur Yann, APR

Vice President of Public Relations

Public Relations Society of America

I understand the PRSA's stance. But its code of ethics lacks two tenets that I'd like to see:

  1. PR people should carefully target emails to groups interested in their clients products, services, and ideas.
  2. PR people are responsible for maintaining a list of people who have requested to be removed from mailings, and should not email people on that list.

And I wish someone (and politically, it appears it's not the PRSA) would certify this.

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Comments

Richard

PR also means per rectum :P

Ray van Hilst

I was originally directed to your post by another blogger who pointed out that PRSA had missed a huge PR opportunity by not engaging you. After seeing their response to you, I think it's just proof that there are too many in the PR industry who are losing irrelevance and just don't get it.

This issue falls firmly in the core areas that PRSA represents. After all, they offer the APR accreditation which includes that a member "demonstrates a commitment to professional excellence and ethical conduct." Your issue seem to fall squarely in this arena.

What's sad is that PRSA will take away accreditation because someone doesn't renew their membership (Look for the July 7, 2010 post on http://toughsledding.com/ how a veteran got a cease and desist order). So if ethics are such an important part of accreditation why can't someone be kicked out for repeated ethical misconduct?

IMHO, more proof that a series of letters and other puffery doesn't prove professionalism or ability.

Proposal Software

Yes you are right, they should consider our concerns also. Emailing again and again even if you dont want is against professional and business ethics.
1. PR people should carefully target emails to groups interested in their clients products, services, and ideas.
2. PR people are responsible for maintaining a list of people who have requested to be removed from mailings, and should not email people on that list.

I agree completely with both of these points.

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