Sunday, March 17, 2013

Get to know the PRSA Code of Ethics like the back of you hand

Score one more for the value of the Public Relations Society of America. Last week, PRSA launched an app for the Code of Ethics.

Oh no, public relations ethics. How boring.

PR ethics is what separates the wheat from the chaff. It separates those public relations professionals who are useful and valuable to an organization from those that are all but worthless.
The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is committed to ethical practices. The level of public trust PRSA members seek, as we serve the public good, means we have taken on a special obligation to operate ethically...Each of us sets an example for each other - as well as other professionals - by our pursuit of excellence with powerful standards of performance, professionalism, and ethical conduct....We believe our professional values are vital to the integrity of the profession as a whole.
Codes of ethics are not unique to PRSA, a quick search of a few other related communication organizations, National School Public Relations Association, International Association of Business Communicators and the Society of Professional Journalists, found well-crafted and robust ethics guidelines.

According to the announcement, the ethics app provides easy reference to PRSA’s Code and Statement of Professional Values and Code provisions. It also includes:
  • PRSA ethics-related blog posts
  • Professional Standards Advisories which offer timely guidance on emerging ethics issues such as illegal recordings, ethical use of interns, professional conflicts of interest, use of VNRs as a PR tool, etc.
  • Email access to members of PRSA’s Board of Ethics and Professional Standards
  • A short Ethics Quiz
The PRSA Ethics app is available for free for Android devices on Google Play and Apple iOS devices. Is this mobile ethics app a game-changer for the profession? Probably not. What it tells me is that the PRSA continues to find ways to provide resources to its membership for the benefit of the public relations profession.

Good work and thank you, PRSA.

Friday, March 15, 2013

We Choose Texas Public Schools

Over the last decade, it seems numerous groups have thankfully formed to advocate for public school districts across Texas. While these groups have strong commitments to public education, each has its own vision, mission, and objectives, often leaving school districts, parents, employees and public school supporters without a simple unifying message or call to action. My hope is for more people to stand up and say, "We Choose Texas Public Schools."

We Choose Texas Public Schools is a concept campaign offered freely for public school district communities, parents, students and staff. I came up with it for a public education celebration rally in February that my school district hosted with four other districts in North Texas. We had yard signs (pictured above) made to distribute to attendees. (The cost of these signs was covered by a sponsor.)

School choice continues to be a major topic of debate and conversation both in the Legislature and out in the public space. Texas public schools educates nearly 5 million students. I'm not going to delve into the arguments for/against restoring state education funding, school vouchers, high stakes testing, or other un-funded mandates in this space. Again, there are other public education advocacy groups already making positive steps for these debates. Healthy debate is good in my opinion. I offer this simple idea as a counter-message to the negative notion repeated again and again that students are “stuck” in public schools. In actuality, many families simply choose public education. I want to give a unifying message for those parents who freely choose Texas public schools.

Be proud, Texans and share that choice.
Please feel free to share, use, distribute the We Choose Texas Public Schools concept. I've shared the PDF of the yard sign art for others to use. I look forward to seeing how this concept develops.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Texas Rangers Ryan-Daniels Drama Power Play or Publicity Stunt?

The Texas Rangers issued a press release at the end of the day on Friday, March 1 at 4:54 p.m. CST with a headline that read, "Jon Daniels Named President of Baseball Operations/GM - Rick George Named President of Business Operations." This left the obvious question hanging out there of what's going to happen with Nolan Ryan, who up until Friday was President/CEO? The release explained that like this:
The Texas Rangers announced today the promotions of General Manager Jon Daniels to President of Baseball Operations/General Manager and the promotion of Chief Operating Officer Rick George to President of Business Operations.
In their respective roles, Daniels and George will continue to oversee the day-to-day baseball and business operations of the Rangers organization under the leadership of Chief Executive Officer Nolan Ryan.
And so the Dallas/Ft. Worth sports media proceeded to go absolutely nuts. One of the first to do so was longtime baseball writer/columnist and ESPN radio host, Randy Galloway who was quick to speculate that this move might signal the end for Nolan Ryan. Others piled on over the weekend and well into this week in the local jock media kingdom and abroad

The media has portrayed this move as a power struggle between Jon Daniels and Nolan Ryan. At one point we've heard Nolan Ryan could be out by season's end or as early as the end of spring training. Speculation and rumors have been swirling since day 1 and it has truly been interesting to observe locally as a sports (and Rangers) fan and as a public relations pro. 

Bungled PR or Savvy Publicity Stunt?
One of the common themes that's out there is that the Rangers front office had bungled the public relations aspect of this news. At first, I was on board with this assessment. First, they release the news at the end of the day on a Friday anticipating some level of attention, but hoping the weekend takes care of most of the issues. I didn't see/hear/read anything from the Rangers organization until Tuesday of this week with the new President of Baseball Operations/GM, Jon Daniels basically saying all is well, nothing really has changed. By that point, the narrative of major speculations and rumors had taken over. 

The media had settled on this was either a power grab by Jon Daniels or ownership being more interested in keeping Daniels (the young baseball mind) over Ryan (the Hall of Famer and well-loved veteran). If you frame this as a fiasco waiting to happen, then the Rangers' ownership has seriously miscalculated the fans' potential for push-back and disdain. 

At least that's how the media has portrayed this mini-drama will/would play out.

But what if it was orchestrated this way? What if the Rangers ownership, Nolan Ryan, Jon Daniels, and Rick George (who ever that is) were all in on this as a way to get major media attention. Since the announcement, the Texas Rangers have been at the top/front page of most local media outlets sports pages and newscasts. If it is/was an elaborate ruse to get tons of coverage while in spring training, it's working. 

A quick look at the local sports landscape is good for this type of play. The Dallas Cowboys are not major news right now, the Dallas Mavericks are struggling to keep playoff hopes alive, and the Dallas Stars are trying to get people to remember they like hockey. The Rangers lost some key players, personalities, and bats. They are continuing with their youth movement. The team, in my opinion, will be contenders again, but will do so with the strong players on the 40-man roster as well as minor league talent. But all that doesn't keep the attention of the casual sports fan until the season starts (or well into the season). This team news provides that narrative of controversy and puts the Rangers front and center. 

Maybe I'm wrong, maybe this is a sign of real fissures within the team management and foreshadows rough days for the team in the very near future especially if the fans revolt. But all it would take for this to stop would be for Nolan Ryan to come out and say publicly, in his classic country drawl, "everything is good, I'm fine and we are looking for another great season of Texas Rangers baseball." If he said that, the story would have nowhere to go and we'd move on. If he said that, this episode might have just been all a publicity stunt. And it will have worked.

(Photo credit: phoca2004 via Flickr Creative Commons)