Communications: Getting Integrity Off Life Support

    By James E. Barnes

    Now that 2018 is firmly in the rearview mirror, what lies ahead in 2019?

    EthicsIf we are honest with ourselves and reflect on 2018, we can use the past to guide us in our future. I was intrigued by Rev. Dr. G. Scott Morris’ special article published in the Memphis Commercial Appeal on January 6, “Integrity should be a goal for all of us in the new year.” The piece struck a chord of hopefulness: Why would a daily newspaper publish an article on moral turpitude? Is it newsworthy?

    The old saying about newsworthiness, “If it bleeds it leads,” may be more appropriate than we care to realize. Many people assert that morality -- principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong – is hemorrhaging in our society. In this sense, Dr. Morris’ article is relevant and consistently aligns with the contemporary definition of newsworthiness because a crime, albeit bloodless, has occurred.

    There has been an assault on integrity leaving a highly fragmented and contentious communications environment. This environment is designed so rather than people speaking to one another with a strong ethical basis of seeking resolution or problem-solving, it has weaponized communication and destroyed potential bridges of relationships rather than build them up.

    I’m resolving in the new year to reestablish, reinforce, and reemphasize sound, honest frameworks for integrity as an ethical imperative in our communications. A worthwhile resolution that is as important, as Rev. Dr. Morris reasons, as losing weight or getting out of debt.

    What are your professional resolutions this year?

    Read the PRSA Code of Ethics

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