Public Relations Society of America
The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), was established in 1947 and is the peak professional association for U.S.-based public relations practitioners (though it is making inroads internationally given US dominance in the Public Relations field). Additionally, PRSA has a number of local affiliates across the United States (and internationally) that offer their own activities and services, as well as a student organization; the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) which has 255 chapters nationwide.
In addition to offering professional advancement, networking, and ethics guidelines, PRSA offers the "Accredited in Public Relations" (APR) certification.
PRSA has over 20,000 members and 114 chapters, which include international affiliates. It is estimated, however, that less than 10% of public relations practitioners in the US belong to PRSA.
The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) has issued a news release calling on the presidential campaigns of John McCain and Barack Obama to "uphold the highest standards of ethical practice in every facet of their campaign communications." PRSA CEO Jeffrey Julin is offering himself for interviews as "a recognized expert in communications ethics." Since assuming the helm of the PRSA in January, Julin has been trying to improve the industry's ethical reputation. In June, for example, he posted a platitudinous statement on YouTube in response to a sarcastic CBS news commentary about Scott McClellan's book on his misadventures as a spokesman for the Bush administration. Julin is also president of MGA Communications, a PR firm whose clients include Americans for Balanced Energy Choices, a front group for the coal industry that is "targeting the public, politicians, interest groups, and the media" during this year's election campaign as part of what the Washington Post called a "$35 million campaign in primary and caucus states to rally public support for coal-fired electricity and to fuel opposition to legislation that Congress is crafting to slow climate change." 
On January 11, 2005, PRSA responded to the story of Armstrong Williams' non-disclosure of his receipt of $240,000 from the Department of Education for advocating for the "No Child Left Behind" program with an official statement. As with other PRSA statements on recent events deemed illegal by the Government Accountability Office, the official statement names neither Williams nor Ketchum (the public relations firm that brokered the deal) though it does note that Williams should have disclosed his arrangement and notes that such a practices are ". . . clearly contrary to the PRSA Member Code of Ethics, which requires that public relations professionals engage in open, honest communications, and fully disclose sponsors or financial interests involved in any paid communications activities." To date, no one at either Ketchum or Fleischman-Hillard (the two major firms implicated in the "Paylagate" scandals) has been sanctioned by PRSA for violations of the PRSA Code of Ethics. It should be noted that both firms have historically been financial backers of PRSA.
- Tough Issues, Tough World
- Survey Shows Most PR People Still Won't Admit Lying
- The Public Relations Society of America's Code of Ethics
The Public Relations Society of America
33 Maiden Lane, 11th Fl.
New York, NY 10038-5150
- Public relations associations
- PR ethics
- The Public Relations Institute of Australia's Code of Ethics
- Public Relations Society of America, "PRSA President and CEO Judith T. Phair To Testify During Senate Committee Hearing On Pending Video News Release Legislation", Media Release, May 10, 2005.
- Public Relations Society of America, "Executive, Congressional and Consumer Attitudes Toward the Media, Marketing and Public Relations Profession Survey Highlights", November 2005.
- Harris Interactive Public Relations Research, "Executive, Congressional and Consumer Attitudes Toward Media, Marketing and the Public Relations Profession", Public Relations Society of America, November 2005.
- Jack O'Dwyer, "Open Letter to the PRSA Ethics Board", August 29, 2006.
- Press release, "PRSA reacts to departure of Karen Hughes, encourages State Department to continue strategic communications efforts overseas," Public Relations Society of America, November 6, 2007.
- Rick Laney, "PR executive addresses crisis communications for FEMA," The Daily Times (Tennessee), December 19, 2007.
Articles and resources
Related SourceWatch articles
- "Communications Professionals Challenge McCain and Obama on Ethics", Public Relations Society of America, September 10, 2008.