Senior Pros Call For “Return to Civility”

The ability to communicate a client’s message in a polarized media environment was a hot topic of discussion among 20 PRSA NJ senior public relations professionals, generously hosted by R&J Strategic Communications in Bridgewater, NJ on February 27.

It was the latest session in the chapter’s popular Senior Pros roundtable series, a gathering of PR professionals with at least 15 years’ experience from agencies, corporations, consultancies, non-profit groups and education. Each meeting is a valuable chance for participants to meet face-to-face and explore their industry’s latest opportunities and challenges together.

Ken Jacobs, Principal at Jacobs Consulting & Executive Coaching, PRSA NJ Board Member, and the Chair of its Senior Professionals Group, welcomed attendees to a morning of robust conversation and networking that distinguishes every Senior Pros encounter.

Moderator Jon Goldberg, Chief Architect of Reputation Architects and PRSA NJ Board Member, began by asking the group if their profession should play a lead role in restoring civility, credibility, critical thinking and respect to today’s corporate and public communications.

Experts in areas such as social media, advocacy, digital marketing, brand promotion, crisis management, and strategic communications responded with a lively exchange over how PRSA members can help clients forcefully present their views without disparaging the media, competitors, and traditional free speech principles.

Topics discussed included:

  • Ways to re-establish fundamental ground rules for commercial PR and public dialogue.
  • Professional education coursework in leadership and communications standards for PR practitioners.
  • Ways that PRSA members can uphold their commitment to the Barcelona Principles 2.0 (2015) and its call for transparency, honesty and ethical practices within the public relations industry.
  • Whether the short term successes of uncivil PR campaigns can damage an organization’s long-term reputation and economic strength.
  • Freedom of the press — and equal voting rights — as essential prerequisites for fair and free communications.
  • Americans’ need for accurate information as consumers and citizens.

The group also discussed the need to engage with young PR professionals and students earlier in their careers, encourage greater diversity and inclusion on the job, and provide experienced mentors to more people entering the field.

Dennis Wilson of RWJ Barnabas Health listens as Senior Pros Chair Ken Jacobs of Jacobs Consulting & Executive Coaching welcomes PR professionals from throughout New Jersey.
Lisa Ellen (Simpson Healthcare), Carey Pilato (Sanofi), Larry Thomas (MediaMobz) and Jennifer Young (State Farm) watch as the opinions fly.
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