Professionalism, ethics and BRAC helping students prepare for their futures in PR

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Today kids begin to learn the basics of ethics in schools and at home. So what is it and why is it so important? The term “ethics” comes from the Greek word ethos, which means “character.” In philosophy, ethics is the moral behavior in humans and how they should act (even behind closed doors). This term has many different definitions but in my opinion to be ethical is to know the difference between right and wrong and show this “ethical” behavior and knowledge on a daily basis. The rules of ethics don’t always have to be posted on a wall or taught verbatim, they are norms in which our society has implemented that show how individuals should act in certain situations. For example, when you get pulled over by a cop for speeding, you do not talk to the officer like you would if you we’re talking to your best friend.

So yes, we have the opposing views as well. Some think ethics are just what the society accepts or what the law requires and that may be true in some circumstances, but not always. We have seen in our history that society can be viewed as “ethically corrupt,” take for instance Nazi Germany. This shows that a society does not always determine what is ethical and what is not.

Today, ethics, in some ways have started to diminish in younger generations. Here is an example of how a teen talks to a judge in a court room (He definitely puts her in her place.):

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Now on the other hand we have professionalism. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines professionalism as “the qualities that characterize or mark a profession or a professional person.” So what does that mean exactly? Many people think that wearing a nice suit and getting your hair done makes you professional. Wrong. The way you look may play a small part in being professional, but there is a way bigger picture to take into consideration. Professionalism entails some duties like:

  • Specialized knowledge
  • Competency
  • Honesty and integrity
  • Accountability
  • Image
  • Self-regulation


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I am currently a marketing/PR intern at the YMCA in Baton Rouge and I have learned that ethics and professionalism are crucial for maintaining a global organzation. The YMCA is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and donations from others to continue their mission to nurture the potential of kids by promoting healthy lifestyles and fostering  a sense of social responsibility. Across the U.S., more than 500,000 business leaders, community advocates, parents, teens and individuals give back and volunteer at the Y. They build partnerships that “not just promise, but deliver positive personal and social change.” To remain loyal to these individuals, the Y must be honest, responsible, accountable, competent, fair and so much more. All of these traits combined make up the ground work for these two vital terms.

Working with BRAC has taught me so much and has shown me what it is like to work with an actual organization that depends on my hard work and dedication. If I just blow off an assignment in this service-learning course, I don’t just get to make it up or get a 0. If I miss an assignment, I let down an organization that is counting on me for my ideas and help. My work ethic, my professional demeanor and most of all, my loyalty and honesty to BRAC and to the Baton Rouge community is what is important for this course. Being professional and ethical might not be the reason a person gets a job, but it definitely is the deciding factor in which that person keeps the job. If your client trusts you and depends on you then a bond is formed. When this bond is formed, clients will not want to get rid of you.

Another key is communication. In my last blog (click here to read) I stressed the importance of communication in the PR field. What you say is essential for how successful you are. One wrong term could initially create a crisis, which is bad for any organization. You have to learn to be professional in what you tweet or put on Facebook. What you release to the public must be thought out and delivered in the right way, or else things could be twisted and falsified. People in corporations must also always be on the same page. There is nothing worse than one person saying one thing about an issue and another saying something completely different. BP shows a perfect example of this type of crisis: BP: A Textbook Example of how not to Handle PR.

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With BRAC, my group SpotlightBR, is learning how to form mutual relationships with clients. We will be promoting the nightlife of the Baton Rouge area and meeting with the managers and employees of certain venues in hopes of making this campaign a success. We will be using Instagram and Twitter to communicate with our audiences and give them a visual description of the best places to go at night in Baton Rouge and promote their nightly drink specials. We also will be promoting these places in a honest and sincere way to ultimately accomplish our overall goal and that is to bring light to the night in the beautiful city of Baton Rouge.


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Downtown Baton Rouge

Thanks for reading,

Bailey Bigler

Follow me @BaileyBigler_
and SpotlightBR @SpotlightBR2013