This Week in PR Ethics (1/21/21) – Fertility, Consequences and Diversity

This week in PR Ethics there were a number of interesting stories – from should President Trump’s PR people ever get jobs again to privacy and fertility and the importance of diversity.

  • Privacy and Fertility – The ethical use of data and who has the right to data is an important topic in PR ethics. There are examples of ethical missteps, but this one was particularly chilling. A company promised its users that their information would be kept private. Yet the company allegedly improperly shared personal data with Facebook and others, including whether users were ovulating – which allowed those platforms to serve up targeted ads. This is an abuse of trust, the law and a good reminder that PR pros need to dig and see where information collected on users is going in order to protect their company’s brand.


  • Actions have consequences – Last Week, Forbes wrote a piece telling businesses not to hire press secretaries that worked for the President. They state “But ultimately in PR, core credibility is the coin of the realm.” And “Hire any of Trump’s fellow fabulists above, and Forbes will assume that everything your company or firm talks about is a lie.” This reinforces the point that the personal brand of PR pros is tied up with the brand of their clients and their companies and we need to constantly balance the ethical duty to our employers with our duty to society and to ourselves.


  • How to be a glass shattering organization – Like many, I was shocked to read earlier this month, that all the jobs lost last month were women. Diverse companies are not only an ethical imperative, they drive business success. That’s why, while I found the HBR article this week on how to be a glass shattering organization to be relatively basic – based on the data – I felt we all need the reminder.


Mark McClennan, APR, Fellow PRSA
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Mark W. McClennan, APR, Fellow PRSA, is the general manager of C+C's Boston office. C+C is a communications agency all about the good and purpose-driven brands. He has more than 20 years of tech and fintech agency experience, served as the 2016 National Chair of PRSA, drove the creation of the PRSA Ethics App and is the host of


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