When it comes to reputation, there is little distinction between a real conflict and a perceived one
Image source: PR Conversations
As media scandals go, it was a big one for Canada: The revelation that for the past two years one of the nation’s better-known TV news anchors was a part owner of a small public relations firm. Even more unnerving was that the anchor — and, on occasion, other journalists affiliated with the network — interviewed his agency’s clients on show segments. Both his equity stake and regular participation in the agency, not to mention profile and participation of clients, were apparently concealed from both his employer and the viewing public.
For public relations practitioners committed to ethics and professionalism, the natural first instinct was self-righteous shock. Most codes of ethics are clear about why this is wrong. For example, the Canadian Public Relations Society’s Code of Ethics states that a PR professional “shall deal fairly and honestly with the communications media and the public” and “neither propose nor act to improperly influence the communications media.”