This Week in PR Ethics (9/15/22): No DEI Changemakers, and Where Does Advocacy End and Exploiting Begin?

This week there were almost too many PR ethics stories, and almost all of them are powerful. From PRWeek and Google highlight the long DEI road ahead and new ways to approach it; to advocacy, exploitation, AI, Art, and conflict of interest…there is an ethics topic for everyone.


  • No Changemakers when it comes to DEI – This PRWeek story from Wednesday is a must read for every PR pro. The Changemaker panel found that it couldn’t recognize any PR agencies on moving the needle on DEI.  What also makes this fascinating to me is this is a great framework for agencies to think about their DEI efforts beyond hiring.



  • Are managers and employees held equally accountable for ethics violations? – Ethics and Compliance initiative has an interesting stat from ethics research every week. What caught my attention was the contrast between the stats of the last two weeks – 84% of US employees agree non-management employees would be held accountable for violating ethics standards, but that stat drops to 80% for management.



  • Ethics in the Coffee industry – This Vinepair article highlights two ethical issues in the coffee industry – ethical and accurate sourcing and representation


  • Is reverse catfishing ethical – Catfishing is a popular term, but did you know about reverse catfishing? Well + Good had an interesting article on the rise of people using unflattering photos of themselves in online dating apps. What are the ethical issues of using photos that may not be accurate in dating and in sales?


  • The Ethics of AI Generated Art – This interesting Medium post by Jamie Arpin-Ricci looks at some unexpected ethics issues when it comes to AI art. Who is really the artist? Who owns the work? What impact does it have on the industry and society.

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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