A male's perspective in a female-dominated PRoffesion.
With only one full semester left, I can say that I have had my fair share of interesting classes at LSU. But, to date, I would have to say that one of my favorite courses was media ethics.
The class delved into a realm of the media proffesion that had never been explicitly mentioned in my other courses – ethical dilemmas. We spent weeks discussing the ethical dilemmas that journalists, PR specialists and photographers face every day. Is it ethical to take a picture at a soldier’s funeral? What is the line between being objective and passive in violent situations? Should the public be informed on every issue? We’d debate questions like these for days.
At times, it was mind-boggling. (Also mind-boggling: My teacher was Johnny Knoxville’s doppleganger.)
We also learned about the importance of aligning yourself with companies or industries that have similar values and ethical standards as you. There will be times in your career when your personal values and ethics will be tested. If there is a stark difference between what you believe and how your company expects you to act, there will be major problems.
I am glad that I have entered a profession where strong ethical standards are enforced. In all my classes, it has been reiterated that PR professionals have a responsibility to the people first. We are not spin doctors with the sole purpose of furthering a company or brand’s agenda. We are here to facilitate mutually beneficially relationships with our clients and be the “middle men” between them and the public.
The PR profession also values professionalism. Since my freshman year, I have been molded into becoming a person ready to enter the professional work force. I’ve been taught how to brand myself to the public via social media and how to interact with future employers. I’ve been shown how to speak and dress appropriately for different audiences. In my current class, I even have an entire grade dedicated to the professionalism I’ve displayed while working with my PR agency, Bengal Communications.
Being taught these ethical standards and professional values has translated into me being a better PR professional. While partnering with BRAC for our current campaign, I have found this knowledge to be useful. I know that I am partnerning with a non-profit that shares the same values and goals as I. We both want to see Baton Rouge and its surrounding areas prosper, but we don’t plan to reach our goals through unethical means. The members of Bengal Communications have handled themselves in a professional manner throughout the planing of this campaign and I don’t expect there to be any change.
Until next time,