News & Ideas


PR & journalism: Scandal shows perils of blurred boundaries

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.”
more »

January 26th, 2015 | Posted in Ideas | 0 Comments

No more Fords: A challenge for PR, politicians, journalists & citizens

Ethical PR, strong journalism and greater participation are keys to better governance

Image source: Chris Young / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Toronto’s long local nightmare is over. After generating global attention for the unethical and illegal behaviour of Rob Ford, the outgoing mayor – and the city’s incomprehensible inability to remove him from office – Toronto City Hall is in saner, wiser hands.

Why is this topic relevant to an international public relations blog? When practised at its best, PR is the discipline that aims to build mutual understanding and trust, and to aid in the essential accountability between leaders, organizations and society. Yet the Ford administration used public relations as a tool of deceit and distortion, often with alarming success. We cannot assume this will not happen again in Canada; indeed, it occurs too frequently from leaders of governments, businesses and other institutions all over the world. What can we learn from Toronto’s example?

more »

December 3rd, 2014 | Posted in Ideas | 1 Comment

TRUST: The currency of resilient business

‘Trust is like the air we breathe. When it’s present, nobody really notices. But when it’s absent, everybody notices.’ Warren Buffett

Elements of Trust

Source: PwC UK, adapted from the “Trustworthy Organisation” by Dr Andrew Tucker

Business has always been about trust and relationships – but never more so than today. With non-physical and non-financial assets now comprising the vast majority of most companies’ valuations, intangibles such as trust and reputation have become critical to long-term success.

What are the keys to earning trust – and keeping it? This was the topic of a panel I chaired at the International Integrated Reporting Council‘s recent conference in Madrid. As a member of the IIRC’s Working Group, I was joined on the panel by two experts, Helen Tuddenham and Helen Reeve Morris, both of PwC UK. This post summarizes our discussion.

more »

November 17th, 2014 | Posted in Ideas | 0 Comments

Argyle in photos


Follow Argyle on Twitter

Check out what gives us our morning jolt, the websites we follow and the trends we're watching. Follow @ArgylePR and our President, @DanTisch.