Looking for a Public Relations Agency? Use our Free matching service to find the right agency for you.

User login

#PRCAethics and Our Industry’s Bridge of Trust

We practice public relations in an age of reckoning, don’t we?

Even without listing the painfully obvious current events in our world – for there is no need – it takes little self-awareness to know that we in the PR industry feel most pressured these days by bridging divides between two realities:

  1. The rate and degree of societal change and its impacts on people’s lives, and
  1. The demanding expectations that people have of organizations, in the context of those impacts

Bridging these organizational divides can only happen by securing public trust.

And the only constant that earns trust and prevents that divide from degenerating into an abyss:


Our role in public relations places us as the nexus point of that bridge-building for our management teams and throughout our organizations, as well as with every variety of stakeholder.

Strength and consistency of ethical compliance are akin to the steel, concrete and cabling of our bridge’s piles, piers, decking and girders, which determine whether it will stand or if it will fail.

If we do not carry the banner of ethics in all we do, and if we turn a blind eye to colleagues who fail to comply with ethical standards that we know are essential to public trust, then corrosion is introduced into the organizational core.

Just as bridges left for decades in the elements, unmaintained and forgotten, will invariably rust and crumble into ruin, cultures with ethical cracks left unchecked introduce toxins to the workplace, to co-worker relationships, to stakeholder perceptions and, ultimately, to brand reputation.

This #PRCAethics Month, bridging the cause of Public Relations Ethics well-outside the PRCA could not be more timely and relevant to our industry’s needs… to our workplaces, to our client interactions, to our cross-disciplinary functions and to our social and news media representations.

As the new PRCA Ethics Council delves further into its charge to raise ethical standards around the world, our role – together – stands as a bridge in solidarity, of what differentiates us in philosophy and practice.


Mary Beth West, MPRCA, serves as co-chair of the PRCA Ethics Council and works in collaboration with a growing team of PRCA members based in the United States. A senior strategist with Fletcher Marketing PR, she can be followed on Twitter (@marybethwest) and contacted at