This Weeks PR TweetChat # commschat

I joined in with a very interesting debate on this week (Monday 18 October 2010) answering the question ‘Does PR have a duty to tell the truth?’

The questions considered were:
1. As a PR professional are you the paid mouth or corporate conscience?
2. In providing PR counsel to your organisation or client what do you hope to achieve?
3. Is PR about persuasion? So, where does truth sit in that?
4. Where does the public interest sit in this? Or do you pander to what is interesting to the public?
5. What is truth?

We are aware that PR involves building trust and long lasting relationships which more than often mean telling the truth. However there are conflicting opinions that would indicate that the truth can be distorted and actions are carried out against personal beliefs and moral views.

A sample of quotes from the debate;

“It’s not what you say it’s how you say it. We are paid for the skill to craft message”

“Will telling 100% truth harm the organisation? Do the public need to know it all? What if you are in a regulated environment?”

“You have to weigh up short-term advantage with long-term, sustainable success. Headlines now, or good reputation later?”

The full transcript of this weeks #CommsChat is available from

It was clear from the discussion that many people have their own views and opinions on how PR is carried out and whether the same classic rules are sticking in place especially with the growth of social media.

Social media is making everything a lot more transparent and in depth information is easy to get hold of. If you have lied and the truth comes out, you are in danger of receiving very critical and tarnishing response. Opinion leaders on line can be brutal and pull a brand to pieces if they feel the need. Maybe stating the good ,the bad and the ugly makes things a whole lot easier.

‘In forming impressions of companies, people around the world focus on corporate behaviour and social responsibility ahead of either brand reputation or financial factors.’ (1999 Millennium poll cited in Regester & Larkin 2005)

Does this quote still ring true?

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