This Week in PR Ethics 7/28/22 – Disguised Earned Media, Misinformation, and Integrity

Aside from everything discussed at hearings in Washington, there were a number of interesting ethics articles over the past few weeks.

  • PRCA calls out disguised earned media – This PRovoke article highlights how PRCA recently called out the unethical practice of hidden pay for play (or payola for all of us of a certain age). It highlights reports of a UK PR agency offering secret payment to journalists for including clients in editorial coverage. This is a totally unacceptable practice and goes against PR codes of ethics and FTC rules. Thanks to @tressalynne for sharing this.


  • Misinformation is an international threat – While I am mentioning @tressalyne, I loved this article she wrote earlier this month for @burellesUS that highlights how 70% of Americans say the spread of misinformation online is a major international threat, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Check out the article for more chilling data.



  • A new code of ethics – This Washington Post article looks at the lack of a code of ethics for the Supreme Court and what that means in practice.


  • Business integrity does not exist in a silo – I tend to share articles from HBR, but this week, I wanted to share something from the Sloan Management Review at MIT. It looks at how companies can put a greater holistic focus on the G in ESG and move away from check the box responses.
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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