This Week in PR Ethics (10/20/22): Favela Tours, Virtuous Radio Hosts, and Virus Research

This week there were a wide range of ethical issues from slum tourism to sensationalistic news to the importance of stakeholders. But my favorite is celebrating the positive, virtuous action by a radio station show host.

  • The ethics of Favela tours – Fodor’s looks at the return of Favela Tours in Rio and asks – are they ethical? Do they bring money to the community and break down divides, or are they dehumanizing human zoos?
  • Rich Shertenlieb, 98.5 Sports Hub: Virtue-Based Ethics in Action – Most of the stories I highlight here are of ethical failures. I want to take a minute and celebrate a great, modern example of someone following virtue-based ethics. The Sports Hub is dominating the market in Boston and bringing in a disproportionate amount of revenue, yet the parent company hit staff of some of its best-performing shows with layoffs. This week, one of the hosts signed a deal to pay the full salary plus a 38% admin fee for a producer who was laid off so they could return to work. This is a great example of virtue-based ethics (courage, liberality, and justice) in action.
  • Money, Sports, and Ethics in Australia – I read a fascinating article in the Western Weekender in Australia that looks at players protesting team sponsorships from businesses that are large carbon emitters and have a history of negative statements about Indigenous people. The author asks how much power the individual athletes should have. To me, it is another example of the growing power of stakeholders and the impact ethical actions have on brands.
  • The ethics of virus research and reporting – Boston University was at the epicenter of an ethics discussion this week. There were reports BU had created a more deadly COVID-19 variant, without government approval. BU pushed back hard and claimed the reporting took one line out of context. This is a nuanced issue, and one I will be discussing in my class.
Mark McClennan, APR, Fellow PRSA
Follow Me
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


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *