Earlier this month at London’s historic Reform Club, Bill Nielsen (retired Corporate Vice President for Johnson & Johnson and past Chair of the Institute for Public Relations) delivered the International Distinguished Lecture to a sell-out crowd of European public relations leaders.
Nielsen believes that the public relations profession itself needs a core statement of what we value and the responsibilities we own. This would be something very different from a code of ethics, or a list of do’s and don’ts. Rather, Bill envisions a declaration “of what we fundamentally believe and value, and the responsibilities we are prepared to assume.”
He went on to outline four responsibility platforms, each related to a broad constituent group. First – and highest – are the publics or audiences with whom we communicate for awareness, understanding, support and action. Second are the clients that we serve as honest advocates. Third come the media, and all parties who seek to exercise freedom of inquiry and expression. And fourth, our own profession.
“Clearly, we have a responsibility to advance understanding of the legitimacy of our function, what we value, the principles that guide our practice and the ethical standards we embrace,” he said.
Take a look at the speech yourself and let me know what you think.
President and CEO
Institute for Public Relations