Ethics is the backbone of public relations. After all, how can you build relationships and trust, if you don’t do it in an atmosphere of integrity and transparency? Lately, however, the growing array – and popularity of – social media tools has created some new ethical dilemmas and uncertainties. How does the PRSA Code of Ethics apply to tweets? If I do Facebook on my own time, what right does my employer have to complain about – or perhaps fire me for – what I say and show? The fact is, much of social media is uncharted territory. We know the rules for traditional media. Now, we’re trying to figure out if, and how, they apply in the new media world. There’s a lot of blurriness out there – between news and opinion, news and entertainment, privacy and “sharing” with Facebook and Twitter friends.

If you’re in the field of health care, things can get especially complicated. At the annual Health Academy Conference in Washington, D.C., April 27–29, a panel of top health care public relations professionals will delve into “Ethics and Today’s New World of Health Communications: An Interactive Look at What’s Right, Wrong and Just Depends.”

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