Public Relations Ethics

Guidance for the Future Practitioner

Successful public relations hinges on the ethics of its practitioners. As a future professional, it is essential that you uphold the highest ethical standards. PRSSA promotes ethical practice by asking members to adhere to the PRSSA Code of Ethics and encourages all Chapters to have members sign the pledge upon joining the organization.

Leadership in ethics issues among Chapters is encouraged and recognized through the Awards Program for Ethics Advocacy, which honors Chapters that plan and conduct outstanding activities to promote ethical practice.

PRSSA Code of Ethics/Conduct

I pledge to conduct myself professionally, with truth, accuracy, fairness and responsibility to the public, fellow members and to the Society; to improve my individual competence and advance the knowledge and proficiency of the field of public relations; and to adhere to the articles of the Member Code of Ethics/Conduct by the PRSSA National Committee.

I understand and accept that there are consequences for member misconduct, up to and including membership revocation.

I understand that members in violation of the PRSSA Code of Ethics/Conduct may be further barred from PRSA Membership.

PRSA Code of Ethics

PRSSA models its ethics guidelines after those of its parent organization, PRSA. The PRSA Code of Ethics was created to help members navigate ethical principles and applications and is widely regarded as the industry standard. For further reference, see the PRSA Member Code of Ethics Pledge and PRSA Ethics app. For information about specific ethical dilemmas and issues, you can view the PRSA Professional Standards Advisories.

PRSSA 2017 Ethics Month Schedule


September 19 – 3 PM ET – “The Ethical Expectations Leadership”

Leaders, and especially those who advise and counsel them must recognize the ethical expectations of everyone inside and outside the organization. Failure to meet these expectations has palpable negative consequences. This program discusses the expectations and the consequences of failure to meet those expectations. 

Panelists:  Jim Lukaszewski, ABC Fellow IABC, APR, Fellow PRSA, BEPS Emeritus, The Lukaszewski Group, a Division of Risdall Marketing Group

Dr. Juan Meng Associate Professor, University of Georgia

Moderator: Nance Larsen, APR, Fellow PRSA       

Twitter Chat- #PREthics

September 25 – 4 PM ET- “Truth in Communications” – Truth, Honesty and Transparency in communications.

PRSA/SPJ with Andrew M. Seaman, Ethics Chair SPJ, journalist Reuters,  Lauren Bartlett SPJ Ethics Committee member, Senior Manager Corporate Communications Blue Shield of California and Travis Phelps  PRSA member, Communications Manager, WSDOT.

Blogs – one a week submitted by members of BEPS

Month of September:

  1. BJ Whitman – The Legacy of Ethics
  2. Marlene Neill- Code of Ethics Value – Expertise (completed)
  3. Bobbi Simmons- Code of Ethics Value – Loyalty
  4. TBA – Code of Ethics Value – Advocacy
  5. TBA – Code of Ethics Value – Honesty
  6. TBA- Code of Ethics Value – Independence
  7. TBA- Code of Ethics Value – Fairness
  8. PRSSA Ethics Month Blog by Ashleigh Kathryn

Past Ethics Initiatives

PRSSA has introduced several programs in the past to address ethics issues.

2005 Bateman Case Study Competition. In 2005, Bateman Case Study Competition teams created public relations campaigns to educate college students on their campuses about the importance of advancing ethical behavior in academic performance.

2008 Fair & Ethical Campaigning Initiative. This initiative, introduced by 2008–2009 National President Brandi Boatner, encouraged Chapters to promote ethical public relations practices among candidates at all levels of the 2008 election. Review the Fair & Ethical Campaigning Resource Guide (PDF) for more information about this initiative.