Public Relations Ethics Complete Notes: Part 2 [4.0ed the final exam]

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Mass Communication, Advertising & Public Relations
COM CM 525
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COM CM 525 Exam Study Guide Public Relations Ethics Donald K. Wright – Spring 2012 – Exam 2 Be able to answer these short-answer or essay questions: 1. Why does Al Golin say, “Trust is the most basic element of social contact?” (FB pp. 92-93) -Trust is the basis of every relationship - Says that every stakeholder has expectations of an organization and trust is the belief that a company will do its utmost to meet these expectations 2. What set the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill apart from other environmental public relations crises? (FB p. 98) – Senior management was arrogant and uncaring 3. What does Jay Black say about propaganda? (FB p. 158-159) Do you agree? Why or why not? - It is a presumption of manipulation and control, if not outright coercion, that dehumanizes audiences - Power imbalance b/w propagandists and proapgandees - Does not aim for open-mindedness - BUT he does point out that propaganda can be a part of the open marketplace of ideas, but balance must be maintained 4. Summarize what Jim Grunig and Jon White say about connections between public relations and ethics/social responsibility (FB p. 137). – PR should be based on a worldview that incorporates ethics 5. What four criteria compose the foundation of all systems of ethics? (FB p. 173) - Shared values - Wisdom - Justice - Freedom 6. According to Louis A. Day, what would happen if we let people establish their own standards of conduct? (FB p. 174) - It would create social anarchy, ethical anarchy 7. Discuss the strengths and limitations of codes of ethics in public relations. (FB p. 183; DKW 1 pp. 531-532; DKW 2; Kruckeberg) 1. Strengths - Every code of conduct comes with a sense of charisma that enhances the professionalism and occupational selfworth of practitioners that comes with it - Can grant prestige to the practioner - Can be help to professional newcomers by educating them about moral guidelines and sensitizing them to ethical problems generic to their field - Their voluntary nature can serve to limit the need for bothersome gov’t relations - Provide guidelines for practitioners - Best way to refrain from leaving moral judgments to individual interpretations 2. Limitations - B/c of their voluntary nature, they have an inability to be enforced - Not likely that American communication professionals will ever become licensed by the gov’t - No legal restriction on the practice of communications means ANYONE can practice it - Not taken seriously by many of those who practice PR - Protect neither the client nor the public 8. What was unethical about (and who were the major players in) the public relations aspects of the U.S. Department of Education’s “No Child Left Behind” campaign in 2004? (FB p. 79) - It improperly funneled PR funds to Armstrong Williams (conservative journalist) -Using Ketchum as a middleman, the Education Dept. officials paid Williams $240K to promote No Child Left Behind on his nationally syndicated talk show and in his newspaper column, and to use his contacts with black journalists to encourage them to portray the law favorably 9. What is the Sarbanes-Oxley Act? Has it helped correct the problems it was put in place to fix? (FB pp. 91-92) -triggered by Enron Regulates transparency by: - Requires CEOs to certify the accuracy of financial statements - Calls for management and external auditors to regularly assess the corporation’s internal controls for security measures for effectiveness - Some companies have instituted continuous monitoring as a result of the Act to alert them of even the smallest problem early on - Laws and regulations attempt to force transparency but can only act as a deterrent 64% difficult – force to comply in specific ways = new layer of bureaucracy, released in a certain way and failure will lead to sanctions -opp to reassess and reaffirm commitment to truth and transparency 10. What is the Texas Gulf Sulphur case and what is its significance to public relations ethics (FB p. 93)? (bottom half of 93) - When In 1963, Texas Gulf Sulphur Company issued a news release in 1963 announcing that rumors regarding its discovery of a major sulphur mine were untrue, the SEC claimed the company was misleading investors. TGSC argued that it had issued the release to quell the rumors that were playing havoc with its stock price and it had intended to announce the find as soon as it had completed testing. - The SEC and the court didn’t buy their story and found the release not truthful - Its significance: one an organization decides to make a statement, event to say it cannot talk about something, it must carefully craft the statement so that it is truthful and doesn’t mislead -misled public to believe nothing there then bought up all the stock and then announced 3 days later how much there was there 11. Summarize some of the specifics about what Karla Gower’s writing about ethics and the problems faced by various companies in 2001 and 2002. (FB Ch. 6, pp. 89-105) - Financial scandals of the 21 century proved that big corporations were BAD! - Congress began to hold executives accountable and ‘transparency’ became the new buzzword - PR pros can assist organizations in rebuilding truth through truth and transparency by practicing responsible advocacy 12. Understand the principles of noted corporate public relations practitioner Arthur W. Page who argued that public relations should be a management-level function and also advocated telling the truth, proving it with action and conducting public relations as though the whole company depends on it. ( principles/) BE ABLE TO LIST 1. Tell the truth—provide an accurate picture of your company’s character, ideals and practices 2. Prove it with action—public perception of an organization is determined 90% by what it does and 10% by what it says 3. Listen to the customer 4. Manage for tomorrow 5. Conduct PR as if the whole company depends on it—corporate relations is a management function 6. Realize a company’s true character is expressed by its people/employees 7. Remain calm, patient and good-humored—when a crisis arises, cool heads communicate best 13. What do Cutlip, Center & Broom say about enforcement of public relations ethics codes? (DKW 1 p. 532) - It is often infrequent and uneven, poor, prsa now doesn’t even enforce it. 14. Summarize Don Wright’s thoughts about ethics being an individual issue. (DKW 1 p. 532 & FB p. 174) - Ethics is individual—up to individual practitioners to decide whether or not to be ethical, regardless of professional ethical codes 15. What do Ryan & Martinson and Wright say about the ethical perceptions of journalists and public relations people? (Ryan & Martinson; DKW 1 p. 531) - They tend to differ 16. Be familiar with Don Wright’s opinions about codes of ethics in public relations (DKW1 pp. 531-532). - Acknowledges that codes of ethics are commonplace throughout the communication industry and that most comms. Professional organizations have them but they are often unenforceable - These codes are also dismissed by many as being merely cosmetic - Their voluntary nature makes them difficult to enforce - With or without professional codes of conduct, most who practice communication will choose to be ethical b/c they behave ethically themselves and want others to respect them= most communicators are ethical b/c they want to be, not b/c they have to be, regardless of these codes 17. Understand Linda Hon’s thoughts about unethical communication practices of Wal-Mart, McDonalds and Abercombie and Fitch (FB, p. 53). Also, Greenpeace and the Animal Liberation Front (FB p. 55) and 93. - Wal-Mart - Has faced protests from store union organizers dissatisfied w/ working pay & conditions - Numerous communities have targeted the company with accusations that the store undermines local businesses - McDonalds - Has been the target of lawsuits that charge the company w/ selling unhealthy foods that lead to obesity - Fitch - Has been criticized for racist hiring practices and offending Asian-Americans w/ a derogatory picture and slogan printed on t-shirts - Greenpeace - Says the internationally visible environmental group are as powerful and sophisticated in their PR efforts as they organizations they target - Animal Liberation Front - Underground organizations like this one are so extreme and unethical in their tactics (e.g., burning down scientific laboratories) that they should be considered terrorist organizations 18. Be aware of Elizabeth Dougall’s thoughts about the organizational centric approach to understanding activism (FB, p. 54). - Says this approach has been criticized for contributing to a biased body of knowledge that prescribes “organizational ‘solutions’ to activist ‘problems’” 19. Know what Shannon Bowen, Ron Pearson, Juliet Roper, Jim Grunig and Lauri Grunig say about communication ethics and the two-way symmetrical model of communication (FB, pp. 54-55). - The two-way symmetrical model of communication is congruent with the deontological ethical perspective that is grounded in the “moral duty to do what is right based on universal norms of obligation” - Bowen cited Pearson’s argument that organizations have a moral duty to engage in dialogue and Grunigs’ assertations that two-way symmetrical communication is a way of satisfying that obligation - Roper questioned whether two-way symmetric communication is realistic argued that many public relationships are by nature asymmetrical given that organizations tend to have the upper hand relative to their publics in terms of resources; this power differential allows organizations to choose a strategy of responding to activist concerns by providing small concessions that deflect criticism, but while doing so, organizations fail to change any of the underlying societal conditions that lead to such marked power imbalances, thus exacerbating them in the long run -jim grunig - Most ethical is when it is two way symmetrical, Should be based on a worldview that incorporates ethics into public relations -shannon bowen – Emmanuel kant, deontological, moral duty to do what is right because based on universal norms or obligations, best way to have a PR campaign in that duty is to have the communication surrounding that be two way symmetrical -ron pearson – organizations have a moral duty to engage in dialogue 20. What does Larry Smith say about the “hidden agenda” that some activist groups might have. Is this a concern for communication ethics? (FB p. 56). - Argues that many are only interested in making noise and drawing attention to their cause, but don’t actually want the problem to go away b/c if it did, they wouldn’t have justification for existing anymore 21. Thoroughly know and understand the four stages of Linda Hon’s model about responsible and effective advocacy with activist publics (FB pp. 58-68). You should focus your studying relative to Linda Hon’s article (Chapter 4 in the Fitzpatrick & Bronstein text) o
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