PR’s Strumpette fails ethical blogging code

10 principles for ethical blogger contact have been published by WOMMA – although you have to question their effectiveness after the recent Edelman-Walmart flogs (fake blogs) debacle (PR giant, Edelman being heavily involved in WOMMA).  However, the list is a handy reference for public relations practitioners entering the blogosphere:

1. Always be truthful, never knowingly relay false information and never ask someone else to deceive bloggers 
2. Fully 
disclose your identity and affiliations, from the first encounter with bloggers or when commenting on blogs
3. Never take action contrary to the boundaries set by bloggers; respect all community guidelines when posting messages and comments
4. Never ask bloggers to lie for you
5. Use extreme care when communictaing with minors or blogs intended to be read by minors
6. Do not manipulate advertising or affiliate programs to impact blogger income
7. Do not use automated systems for posting comments or distributing information
8. Understand that compensating bloggers may give the appearance of conflict of interest – therefore fully disclose any and all compensation or incentives
9. If sending bloggers products for review, understand they are not obligated to comment on them and can return products at their own discretion
10. If bloggers write about products sent to them, proactively ask them to disclose the products’ source.

Someone failing the code’s first principle is the Strumpette – a PR “insider” whose blog (a naked journal of the PR business) has got the US PR and media world chattering thanks to some vitrolic postings.  “She” even made the Washington Post website in the Summer.  Of course, PR is ripe for satire – and often deserves it – however it is a shame that the Strupette adopts a pseudonym – Amanda Chapel – rather than being prepared to stand robustly behind the comments made. Openness and transparency have to be PR’s credo when blogging or we’ll never change the reputation the Strumpette so mercilessly mocks. 

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Heather Yaxley

Heather Yaxley is passionate about PR - teaching the CIPR qualifications, lecturing part-time at Bournemouth University and running the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA). I'm undertaking a PhD looking at Career Strategies in PR. I love sharing ideas and knowledge - connecting news and views by blogging on public relations and educational developments, especially relating to accelerated and active learning. I'm also a published author, qualified trainer and experienced consultant.

2 thoughts on “PR’s Strumpette fails ethical blogging code”

  1. Yes, I’ve read the Strumpette a few times, her readership doesn’t seem high. Maybe she has an ulterior motive in remaining anonymous – I would guess it’s written by a whole team – perhaps that she can write more openly and honestly and freely. With my blog, I am careful with what I write because I know people are probably waiting for me to say something potentially embarrassing or unprofessional. I do often wonder if I should write a personal anonymous one which would be fun in a different way, more “no-holds barred”.

    One thing I have never done in my life, professionally and blogging wise, is lied. I have too much integrity for that, plus I am a hopeless liar too. I would certainly never lie for a client, and I am fortunate in that I have never been asked to.

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