In all professions there are things that are ethically acceptable and things that are not. With communications professionals such as journalists and advertisers their power to spread content and knowledge to society is even stronger than most. Therefore understanding ethical reasoning is extremely important to these individual’s careers.
I think ethical reasoning may be lacking in todays society because people no longer see others making ethics based decisions. People are in such a hurry to report the latest news that they cut corners. People are also realizing the power they have to influence others and bring about action. With high speed internet and new channels for communicating one person can have more reach than ever before.
Mass communications professionals need to consider their values in each decision that they make. There are so many opportunities for mistakes in judgment such as with sources, selling out to private businesses or being biased in journalism. Understanding long standing ethical principles and the Potter Box method can help guide decisions when faced with dilemmas. Knowing personal loyalties and one’s duties are also important.
If professionals in mass communication fields do not practice ethical behavior their actions can cause a ripple effect in society. That is why one’s duty to society is emphasized in these careers. Unethical behavior can (and has) caused mistrust in the industry and the only way to regain the trust is to conduct work ethically. One must be able to justify decisions and show that proper ethical consideration was given prior to the decision or action. It is impossible to be too accurate and there is no reason good reason to slack.
Ethical reasoning for public relations professionals is also important when taking on clients with questionable motives or who may represent people for the wrong reasons. As a professional it is important to maintain credibility and a reputation for honesty and morality. It can not be emphasized enough that building a career and successful business relationships can only be done through ethical practices.