Friday, while we all debated the value of the APR (see the incomplete Blogpulse results of that conversation and ToddAnd's summary of the debate), PRSA posted a transcript from a June meeting of its Board of Ethics and Professional Standards (BEPS) members.
The discussion touched on the first Amendment issues that I alluded to but didn’t flesh out in many of my comments, including questions such as the chilling of communication by average citizens,
Michael Cherenson, APR, vice president of The Cherenson Group, in Parsippany, N.J., asked the following question:
“What would a licensed PR professional be able to do that an unlicensed PR person couldn’t do? Could only a licensed person call a reporter? Could only a licensed person plan a special event? I don’t know what a licensed person would do that any man or woman on the street couldn’t do. What would the difference be?”
I think it is a good question and one that concerns me. While I like accreditation, I am a little unsure about licensure. Mostly because it might indeed squash creativity. However, if it was offered, I also know that I would get it. It would be a key differentiator and I am always game for learning a thing or two.
The committee seemed to feel that overall it would be a good idea to compare public relations with other professions and their licensure efforts. Gabriel Werba, APR, Fellow PRSA, president of Gabriel Werba & Associates, LLC, in Farmington Hills, Mich., likened the licensure of PR practitioners to the difference between CPAs and bookkeepers.
“Should [clients] wish to retain PR assistance, they could use the services of licensed practitioners with all the assurances as to standards of ethics and competence that a license implies. Or they can use unlicensed practitioners, recognizing the risks attached to them as to the degree of competence.”
This board will be continuing the conversation at PRSA’s 2006 International Conference in October.
Now with a nod to our friend Leo Bottary at Hill & Knowlton, I will get back to giving excellent service to my clients, without whom I would not be here writing to you 🙂 Thanks for keeping us honest Leo.