PRSA, Ethics Codes and Big Data Concerns- Katie Wyble

“The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is committed to ethical practices. The level of public trust PRSA members seek, as we serve the public good, means that we have taken on a special obligation to operate ethically.” –PRSA Code of Ethics

In this post, I am going to briefly illustrate the exact codes that support the use of big data. Taking advantage of available information is essential to running a more efficient business no matter what it is. Utilizing big data is public relations is important to better know your audience and be able to reach them better.

I believe everything comes down to honesty. Few people in this world like getting lied to. Eventually, the truth of every matter will air and everyone will know. If you’ve been paying attention to the news or even you news feed, you’ve probably heard of Volkswagen’s most recent PR blunder. For those of you who haven’t, it involved a lie about the emissions of their engines.

The lie: environmentally friendly engine with low emissions.

The Truth: High emissions and terrible for the environment.

I can’t even begin to imagine the ordeal their PR department is going through. There are many people outraged by this and it is the job of their PR department to recover the image of the company.

From the PRSA Code of Ethics, “We adhere to the highest standard of accuracy and truth in advancing the interests of those we represent and in communicating with the public.” Any PR professional should uphold their integrity as well as their company’s by giving the public the truth. Without integrity and trust, what do you have?

“We provide objective counsel to those we represent. We are accountable for our actions.” If someone were to skew the given data from their resources with big data, they would be held responsible for their actions. Big data is called into question often because of the fear of a security breach. Thousands of companies utilize big data but it is their job not to misuse it. IT is possible for it to be a great thing and so far it has been! The only downfall is bad people using it for bad things.

Under the section titled, “Free Flow of Information” the PRSA Code of Ethics states, “Core Principle Protecting and advancing the free flow of accurate and truthful information is essential to serving the public interest and contributing to informed decision making in a democratic society.”

In other words, the PRSA is an advocate for fair use of information.

“Intent: To maintain the integrity of relationships with the media, government officials, and the public.” I know I’m harping on it but it makes a lot of sense: no member of the PRSA should be using big data for harm or misuse. In my last post I discussed the pledge and the necessity of every member signing it upon admittance to the association. By signing this, you are committing to upholding a certain standard the PRSA is associated with and prides itself on.

To view the full code of ethics go to:

Works Cited


One thought on “PRSA, Ethics Codes and Big Data Concerns- Katie Wyble

  1. mkwieland says:

    The problem is in all honesty, the truth to the lack of trust we should have of a good amount of PR and the media. One can never tell what is fabricated, exaggerated, honestly informative, or for the actual publics true interest. The lies of today sadly fades out the reliability for truth and honest in the PR field in general. You never know what is really behind it all. Good for the people? Good for the company? Or maybe for more POWER?


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