Here is an online version of our agenda for the panel. Unlike the paper version handed out at the event, this one includes links to many of the subjects covered during the workshop.
PRSA Ethics Workshop: October 30, 2007
Tom Formeski, Editor, SiliconValleyWatcher.com
Jon Greer, Media Spokesperson Trainer and Editor, 21stCenturyMediaRelations.com
8 – 8:15 Introductions of panel and attendees
8:15 – 8:35 Panelists comment on current online media and PR ethical issues
8:35 – 9:10 Online ethics hypothetical case studies (Panel and Attendees)
9:10 – 9:30 Q&A and discussion
Some of the Ethical Issues Facing Online Journalists and PR Professionals
• Transparency (or lack thereof)
o Who are you?
o Who is your main employer? Who else might be paying you?
o What conflicts of interest do you have?
• Exchanges of Value: When is it appropriate (or inappropriate) to provide (or accept) something of value, such as:
Goods or services, Free meals, Money
• Who are you, Part 2
• Employee of traditional media producing mostly pre-Internet content?
• Employee of traditional media producing Internet content?
• Professional blogger (i.e., someone trying to make a primary living from blogging)?
• Commercial blogger (i.e, someone blogging in their work capacity but not specifically to get paid to produce content)?
• Amateur blogger?
• PR rep for a corporation?
• PR agency employee?
• Third-party endorser?
• Amateur enthusiast?
• What ethical standards should you follow?
o Traditional media
o PR/PRSA Code of Ethics
o Attempts at online/blogger codes of ethics
• What are our ethical responsibilities in this changing environment?
o Try to follow existing ethical guidelines
o Develop new ethical guidelines
o Continue to serve our bosses, clients, readers, customers, other constituents
Examples of Online Ethical Issues
• Wal-Marting Across America
• Nikon/MWW Camera Giveaway/Loaner Program
• Free meals for Yelpers and other online restaurant critics
• Sony PSP fake blog
• Professional bloggers writing about their sponsors
• Professional bloggers taking endorsement money (Federated Media/Microsoft program)
• Pay Per Post
• Commenting on stories about you or your client using a screen name
• Editing your Wikipedia entry (and having your edits tracked by WikiScanner)
• Newsvine: Seeding “astroturf” content