A Conversation With Marlee Matlin; a Preview of Ethics Month

September 2022
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As of this writing, we have just over two months before ICON 2022 in Grapevine, Texas, on Nov. 13-15.

I recently had the opportunity to interview one of the conference’s keynote speakers — activist and actress Marlee Matlin. She has been a longtime favorite of mine since she became the youngest recipient and only deaf performer to earn the Best Actress Academy Award for her performance in “Children of a Lesser God” in 1987.

During the phone call with Matlin and Jack Jason, her sign-language interpreter and “voice” for the past 35 years, we discussed her work in “CODA,” 2021’s Best Picture recipient, and how the classic sitcom “Happy Days” inspired her career.

Here’s a sneak preview of our conversation, in which she discusses the importance of kindness and civility in how we treat each other:

It’s an adage: Treat others as you would like to be treated. I think people often forget that. People can be selfish when it comes to thinking about how others should be treated. They often speak before they think. People don’t remember the golden rule, which is to love thy neighbor as you love yourself; to speak to others as you would want to be spoken to.

Civility is sorely needed in these times. People have to remember it’s about being polite. You can still disagree, but gosh darn it, I don’t know what got into people’s heads or who it was that told them it was OK to include physical violence or verbal violence. Just be kind. You can still speak your mind but do it in a respectful way.

Look for the Q&A with Matlin on our blog, PRsay, later this month. We will also have an interview with another keynote speaker, award-winning journalist Katty Kay.

Hope to see you at ICON 2022 in November!

Highlights for Ethics Month 2022

Each September, PRSA recognizes Ethics Month to bring increased attention to the core foundation of the communications profession. 

Programming this month includes two free member webinars:

• “Lilly Ledbetter on Fair Pay” on Sept. 8 from 4-5 p.m. 

• “Bots, Misrepresentation and More: Navigating Ethical Dilemmas in Digital Communication” on Sept. 27 from 3-4 p.m. 

In the issues, Michele Ewing, APR, Fellow PRSA, explores the use of data generated from social media platforms, websites, mobile apps, email and other digital channels. 

“While the benefits of data-driven communication are vast, PR professionals may often encounter privacy issues, subjective data interpretation, algorithmic bias, unfair profiling and targeting audiences, and other ethical challenges,” she writes.

Meanwhile, we’ll hear more from Michele on data ethics during the next Strategies & Tactics Live on Sept. 22 at 1 p.m. ET. 

S&T Live, which takes you behind the scenes of a story in the paper, debuted in February on PRSA’s LinkedIn page, where you can access our first seven episodes. 

Visit prsa.org/ethics for updates on Ethics Month programming and a copy of the PRSA Code of Ethics. 

Return to Current Issue Lifelong Learning | September 2022
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