If you’ve worked in communications and PR for long enough you’ll have encountered times when you’re challenged around ethics and diversity. An all-new UnAwards category for 2016 wants to shine a light on the good work being done in our industry to tackle these issues.
by Phil Morcom
The National Union of Journalists Public Relations and Communications Council are proud to sponsor an award this year looking for best practice in demonstrating commitment to diversity or ethical communications behaviour.
Ethics has become a subject of increasing focus for the PR industry, with professional bodies such as the CIPR and PRCA making it an increasingly important element of professional development. The NUJ has long standing ethical codes for journalists and a specific one for PR members.
Diversity too is an area which professional bodies are catching up with the NUJ and recognising how important it is to reflect the diverse world we live and work in. Equality is really important for the union and this goes hand-in-hand with the importance of diversity.
As professionals working in the sector the NUJ's PRCC know members are sometimes pressurised to behave unethically and we know only too well that sometimes people get it wrong and need support when that happens. We also know there are stories about people pushing back against unreasonable demands and standing up for professional, ethical standards - and delivering better results as a consequence.
There is ample evidence that our industry doesn't come close to reflecting society, with - for instance - far less BME and disabled people working in the industry than would be expected if we represented the communities in the places we work. Gender and age variation, as well as sexuality, are also poorly reflected and when we look at who works where and at what level, there's lots to be done. We also still see regular examples of unthinking practice which exclude sections of the community.
So - we know there's bad stuff happening - but there's also lots of good stuff out there to be proud of and people working hard to do the right thing. So we want to see entries which show examples of that good practice, give us good ideas about things we can all do to get it right and help show that doing the right thing doesn't necessarily have to be the hard thing.
Footnote – Dan and I are both signed up members of the NUJ PRCC, have each used their services and can absolutely recommend comms and PR people look into joining as members. You can do this here. Darren
image via Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums