PR Society: Facts Matter In News (Opinion)

"You're saying it's a falsehood. And they're giving -- Sean Spicer, our press secretary -- gave alternative facts," said Kellyanne Conway, a statement that has received widespread mockery.
“You’re saying it’s a falsehood. And they’re giving — Sean Spicer, our press secretary — gave alternative facts,” said Kellyanne Conway, a statement that has received widespread mockery.

Submitted by the Sierra Nevada Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America

The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) takes seriously its role to advocate for truth and accuracy in communications. Our Code of Ethics champions six key values, including advocacy for the profession, honesty in communications, expertise through professional development, independence, loyalty to public interest and fairness.

Sierra Nevada PRSA provides this region’s communicators with resources to elevate their practice and guidance for communicating ethically; we feel this is a timely moment to endorse the national PRSA’s position on the recent use of the phrase “alternative facts” as it has far-reaching consequences.

The full statement from Jane Dvorak, APR, Fellow PRSA and Chair of the PRSA Society for 2017 is here:

Truth is the foundation of all effective communications. By being truthful, we build and maintain trust with the media and our customers, clients and employees. As professional communicators, we take very seriously our responsibility to communicate with honesty and accuracy.

The Public Relations Society of America, the nation’s largest communications association, sets the standard of ethical behavior for our 22,000 members through our Code of Ethics. Encouraging and perpetuating the use of alternative facts by a high-profile spokesperson reflects poorly on all communications professionals.

PRSA strongly objects to any effort to deliberately misrepresent information. Honest, ethical professionals never spin, mislead or alter facts. We applaud our colleagues and professional journalists who work hard to find and report the truth.”

– Jane Dvorak, APR, Fellow PRSA, Chair of the Society for 2017

Both our board of directors and our membership include multiple, diverse professionals who work hard to eschew the inaccurate descriptor of “spin doctors.” We know first-hand the dangers of painting any industry with too broad a brush.

Interpretations of facts may vary, but deviation from truth unseats any item of information from its position as fact. We will continue to advocate to all professional communicators that they embrace fairness and honesty in dealing with the media and the general public. We work diligently to foster ethical practices and encourage all fellow professionals to hold fast to integrity when communicating.

Rachel Gattuso
President of the Sierra Nevada Chapter of PRSA

The Public Relations Society of America’s Code of Ethics can be found at http://tinyurl.com/z3hzscn.

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