Friday, 29 October 2010

Coming soon...

Over the next few blog posts I will be exploring the notion of truth and how it fits into the profession of Public Relations.

To quote the CIPR:

‘Reputation has a direct and major impact on the corporate well-being of every organisation, be it a multinational, a charity, a Government Department or a small business. That is why the professionalism of those people who guard and mould reputation – public relations practitioners – is so important.’

The subject matter I will be discussing is:

“Honest and responsible regard for the public interest is not the same as telling the truth.”

If anyone has any specific thoughts and would like to contribute feel free to email me on: – if you wish to be anonymous then that can easily be arranged.

So come on, shock me with your best stories of withholding information. Or give me the low down on how your personal ethics fit in with the organisation you work for? And what would you do if you were asked to work on a campaign that was controversial?


  1. I don't know if I can shock you with the information we withheld at the NHS, but sometimes I believe it is far more than an attempt to protect reputation.

    As we all know journalists like to scare and shock the 'public' into buying papers. I'm sure the swine flu pandemic sold millions of papers alone.

    But sometimes - I can't give case studies in this instance - you need to withhold information to ensure patients are not scared or panicked by what they read.

    I’ll use this as an example. During the swine flu pandemic we tried to increase the uptake of swine flu vaccinations. It was the idea of one professional – no names to be given – to tell the media we were running low on stocks of the vaccine to scare people into getting vaccinated. It is my opinion and many others in the NHS that this was a crazy idea. Imagine the panic caused by that.

    Sorry I couldn’t shock anyone, but I look forward to reading what others have hidden.

  2. Hi Andrew,

    Thank you for your comment. I am sure you will look forward to my post about witholding the truth... :-)

    Confidentiality is an interesting topic - even if information can get your organisation out of a sticky situation the issue of confidentiality can hinder this.

    I like your example :-) Thanks for coming forward with it.

    Make sure you check back for the blog posts that will be coming soon! And be sure to leave a comment with your opinion :-)

  3. You should look at Julia Hobsbawm's Where the Truth Lies: Trust and Morality in the Business of PR, Journalism and Communications - just out in a revised second edition.

  4. Hi Richard,

    I have literally just ordered that book from Amazon last night! How ironic :-) I read an article in PR Week that gave some background on it and it looked extremely interesting.

    Thank you for your comment.

  5. I found Julian Henry's arguments about the problems of truth telling in the celebrity bubble fascinating. Enjoy!

  6. OOOOoooo I am looking forward to it being delivered now! :-)

  7. Sounds like a good book! Ordering now :)