Thursday, September 28, 2006

Here's a good link for Jean-Jacques Taylor's column today, about the T.O. incident. Just like the Michael Irvin scissorsgate case study, the top guys aren't talking. Again, the "team" and its goals trump personal security.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Latest on H-P scandal

Check out this link,, or head to for the latest at H-P. The board chairwoman is going now, not in January, and one of the top officers being fired is the head of the company's ethics. Ouch.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A link for class discussion

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Review for The TEST

Why are codes of ethics important to professions? What are some of the criticisms of the PRSA code?

How does a PR professional serve as an ethical advocate?

Explain the ethical concepts of utilitarianism and communitarianism.

Check out question 2 from chapter 1.

Define corporate speech and commercial speech, and the First Amendment principles that make these relevant to PR practice.

The FTC (FDA or SEC) and relevance to PR practice, and more broadly, to integrated practices that you may be involved in some day.

How do lobbying regulations impinge on workers in public affairs?

Think of an example of how defamation could occur in the PR context.

Discuss red flags and strategies for avoiding libel.

Consider privacy and PR work, and strategies for ensuring that sensitive matters are kept private.

Read about PR and negligence, especially concerning contests.

Question 3, chapter 4.

Why should PR pros care about copyright?

What is Fair Use, and why does this concept probably not apply to most commercial activities?

Why should a PR professional care about protecting his/her company's trademark? How is trademark protected?

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Another link for the H-P story

This NY Times story is told more fully and better than the LA Times version, I think, so if you're interested, here's that URL:

Week 2: Matching textbook to ethics in the news

Let's connect some of the legal and ethical rules that govern public relations work (from chapters 2 & 3) with stories in the news for your week 2 assignment. If you like, you may simply summarize and provide commentary on the reading for this week, or you may complete the exercise below.

For example, a story in today's LA Times (,0,2087741.story?coll=la-home-business) focuses on Hewlett-Packard's activities, now being investigated by the California attorney general and the SEC.

A sample entry about this story might be:

The SEC is investigating Hewlett-Packard, because of the way that the company reported the departure of a board member. According to a story in the LA Times, the board member resigned from the company in May, to protest that his phone records had been under surveillance, perhaps by someone from H-P. Evidently, the company was trying to discover who on the board was leaking information about the company to the news media.

The possibly SEC violation? When a board member leaves a publicly held company, SEC rules dictate that the resignation be reported as a disagreement between the former board member and company officials because of policies or practices at the company. Allegedly, H-P didn't report the board member's resignation in that way. Privacy issues and board-room tactics are also being investigated by the state of California. It seems possible that another SEC investigation might be how H-P handled leaks, since a company is required to release information generally (within 24 hours) that may be leaked to a few people "inadvertently."

OK, so find a business news story from 2006, and write up an explanation that ties the story's information to what you've learned from the textbook this week.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A link for use during class--what the SEC has to say about public relations' workers:

Friday, September 01, 2006

Blogging for week 1

For the first week, we've discussed some broad ethical theories, courtesy of our textbook. In a couple of entries for this week, it would be great for you to write about these broad theories of ethics, by thinking about them in regards to professional ethical codes. For instance, you could think about utilitarian ethics, write a brief definition of what it is, and then find ways that utilitarianism is expressed in the PRSA's code of ethics. Think about communitarianism, ditto. Is this code more about the first theory? Or the second? If you like, choose a different set of ethical standards, perhaps Habermas', and try to see whether the code is sensitive to those values. If you prefer, use the IABC code as a prism through which to view the theories.