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Ethics at work in Dallas


August 27, 2013

September is Ethics Awareness Month. Based on PRSA’s Code of Ethics, we use this time to inform and educate the profession about ongoing ethical concerns as well as advocacy.

Recently, transparency-related issues have made headlines in Dallas during an ongoing battle between a high-rise condo development and an arts center. It’s a long, complicated story that spans two years. Here’s some background.

Sales are underway at a 42-story condominium called Museum Tower in the city’s Arts District. Nasher Sculpture Center, which includes works by Rodin, Matisse and Miró, is directly across the street. As multiple news articles have noted, the tower’s glass panels are reflecting sunlight that poses a threat to the works inside the museum.

The tower’s owner, the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System, has offered to give the museum $5 million for a roof replacement. But an editorial in the Dallas Morning News  on July 21 called this offer “as condescending as it is dismissive.”

Mike Snyder, a 30-year veteran of NBC affiliate KXAS-TV, is working as a PR consultant for the Museum Tower. As the News reported on July 27, Snyder created several fake social media profiles and aliases to attack opponents and to promote pension officials and the Museum Tower.

This revelation prompted PRSA Dallas to issue a statement on Aug. 1, which reads, in part:

In the strongest terms possible, the Public Relations Society of America, Dallas Chapter, repudiates the actions of someone claiming to practice public relations. Re: Museum Tower Skullduggery — ex-newsman Mike Snyder, who admits to creating fake social media accounts, does not represent the PRSA Dallas Chapter. He is not a member, never has been a member and never will be a member.? ?

Our Dallas Chapter contains more than 300 hardworking members who subscribe to a robust Code of Ethics that includes:

  • Be honest and accurate in all communications.
  • Reveal sponsors for represented causes and interests.

In this month’s Tactics, members of the Board of Ethics and Professional Standards discuss ethical concerns about social media communications. Stay tuned to PRSA for more details about ethics-related events during September.

John Elsasser John Elsasser is the editor-in-chief of PR Tactics and The Strategist. He joined PRSA in 1994.
Email: john.elsasser at prsa.org



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