PRSA: Then & Now

PSRA: Then & Now

Karson Workman

The PSRA has not always been around, for a company of this importance it has been around for a very short period of time. Before I get a head of myself let me answer the question, what even is the PRSA? “Chartered in 1947, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is the world’s largest and foremost organization of public relations professionals. PRSA provides professional development, sets standards of excellence and upholds principles of ethics for its members and, more broadly, the multi-billion dollar global public relations profession. We also advocate for greater understanding and adoption of public relations services, and act as one of the industry’s leading voices on the important business and professional issues of our time.” –

The PRSA enforces a code of ethics to ensure that all of their members maintain the core values of the public relations profession. Together they strive for advocacy, honesty, expertise, independence, loyalty, and fairness. The PRSA released their first code of ethics in 1950 (a revamped code was later on released in 2000 due to changing times and flaws in the initial code). The purpose of this code was to clean up the bad reputation the profession was known for and maintain good standings.

The public relations profession has a bad reputation of being able to twist words around. We are known as manipulators that are only in it for the money and as one of the most unethical professions. This stereotype was started and spread around the way most stereotypes are started- history. PR has been around long before the PRSA . Not having an association like this around gave public relations professionals’ free reign. While I would like to think the majority of people working in PR back in the day had the best intentions, that might not have been the case- especially in the 1930s when money was the main priority for most families across America.

Even the first code of ethics had its flaws in maintaining the PRSA’s core values to the point that a revamped code was released in 2000. This new and improved code focuses on helping practitioners learn how to be ethical and to detect, deter and avoid unethical behavior.

Nowadays, the PRSA not only keeps our profession ethical and our reputation free but also creates network connections across all plains of the field. It gives public relations professionals the opportunity to reach out to other people in their same profession in order to enhance their professional success.

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