PR and proud of it: Reflecting on 2014 and “Dirty Politics”

Trio director Brenda Saunders was invited to present the College of Fellows Chair’s report for the PRINZ 2014 Annual Review. Watch her presentation here or read the transcript below.

Last November, while I was driving along admiring the exquisite Marlborough countryside and contemplating an aromatic pinot gris my driving companion raised the subject of the Nicky Hager book “Dirty Politics” and the issues it raised about the ethics of our PR profession.

I’m sure I’m not the only PRINZ member who was quizzed about the alleged practices of some PR practitioners during this time. It was certainly a testing time for our profession as we were held up to the light. However, the College of Fellows supported the view that the PRINZ Code of Ethics was robust. As a result, PRINZ affirmed that its members practice ethical PR as they have committed to PRINZ’s ethical standards as a condition of membership. Their work, although often behind-the-scenes, contributes to improved outcomes for organisations and society – as shown by the PRINZ awards each year.

Like steel that’s tested in fire, I believe PRINZ and its members have emerged even stronger from this scrutiny.   We have seen our membership grow to more than 1300 in the wake of this episode as practitioners increasingly see the value of belonging to a professional body that upholds ethical standards.

In the interests of greater transparency for our profession, the College has considered the introduction of an online member register. We are also forming a media database of expert PR professionals who can comment on communications topics in the media.

The College has 55 members currently and we are considering the appointment of further new Fellows. Our Fellows perform an invaluable service in judging the annual PRINZ awards and mentoring APR students. We also tap into Fellows’ networks to source interesting speakers for PRINZ events. The Senior Practitioner’s event on the ‘Internet of Things’ held last year was well attended and plans are underway for another senior event later this year.

My thanks go to the College executive for their insights and guidance. On behalf of the College, I would like to thank our CEO, Simone Bell and her team for their excellent support for the Fellows and other PRINZ members. Our thanks also go to the PRINZ National Council, with whom we enjoy a very positive working relationship.

2014 may have been a testing time but it was also a valuable growth process for our profession.