Tell Me and I Forget; Show Me and I Remember; Involve Me and I Learn

Another semester comes and goes…Yup, you read right – tomorrow is my last day of the semester! As my classes are coming to an end I have been lucky enough to have time to ponder the things I am learning. This has been one of the most challenging, mind-blowing and educational semesters I’ve had yet. I took 16 credits and was actively involved with: I~Comm Student Media: The Agency, Center Stage, PRSSA, the Veterans Association and our campus nutrition program. WHEW! I wouldn’t trade it for anything though, I love being involved in school, it helps me take what I am learning in the classroom and implement it so I fully understand.

I received an award from I~Comm

Helped plan this awesome Charity drive for the Veterans Association

One of my most Challenging classes was my Ethics and Legal Issues class, but so rewarding! I can’t even explain in words. As a wrap-up of the class we were asked to write about our personal ethics in life. To get a little taste of what we did in class here is my paper. Unlike most class papers this was actually enjoyable to write, to better understand what I think by getting it down on paper, almost like a journal entry.

Personal Ethics

Kaitlin A. Moss

Brigham Young University-Idaho

I have chosen two of the four codes of ethics from the Society of Professional Journalists’ that stand out to me and how they will help as I plan to make difficult decisions that I come across in my career in public relations.  The two that will play an important role in my life are, minimize harm and be accountable.

I chose minimize harm over seek the truth and report it because I think it is more important to ensure the well-being of one another rather than flaunting information that is irrelevant. Obviously in many situations seeking the truth and reporting it will be necessary and important but there are many occurrences in the world where it is unimportant. Seeking the truth and reporting it is very important to ensure our safety and well-being, but I find that more than often it is abused and used improperly. We live in a world where being number one is desired and sought after in barbaric ways. More than often in the mission of becoming number one the people who are involved are hurt. Their personal life is cruelly scrutinized and manipulated. While I would like to believe that I wouldn’t become a part of something like this, I believe it is harder than it sounds. Satan is after each and every one of us; he knows our weaknesses and will use them to his advantage if we aren’t careful, before you know it, it’ll be too late.

In our book (Media Law and Ethics by Roy L. Moore) on page 546 it talks about how a Pan American jet exploded mid-air above Scotland, killing all of the passengers aboard. American media quickly began covering the story because 20 of the passengers were students from Syracuse University. The press took advantage of the public campus memorial service, jamming the aisles and disturbing the service with bright flashes and loud equipment. It didn’t stop with the memorial service intrusion though; when family and friends of the deceased would not be interviewed they still didn’t give up. The press then attempted to interview students on campus, taking their photos as they walked by. The private mourning became available for anyone to view. This is a perfect example of how seeking the truth and reporting it can be abused. The media took this story too far, and should have respected those in mourning. There is a line between reporting and soliciting that needs be redefined.

To be accountable of one’s actions is one of the most important life lessons to be learned. Children need to be taught this principle from a young age and understand the responsibility that comes with it. This is not just a worldly value but also an eternal one. From a young age we are taught to obey the laws and that if we don’t there are consequences that include paying tickets, jail time or even death. In churches around the world many are taught about sins, although some sins may not have Earthly consequences like paying a ticket or going to jail, there are eternal consequences.

I found myself in a situation that was legally right but morally wrong while I was working for a public relations and advertising firm. My team and I had been working with a client who had been with us for quite some time. They wanted some new advertising products, so we put together a new contract and prepared for the pitch. There had been some communicating errors between my manager and the advertising manager and in the contract the costs had been too high, but the client had already agreed to sign the contract.

The managers and our CEO were all excited to know that we would be making more off of this project than expected. When my manager told our team the situation, she asked for our opinions. The whole time I felt disgusted, I couldn’t believe what I had heard and I couldn’t sit there and rejoice with the rest of the team. I was the only one who said what had happened was wrong; I was verbally attacked and no longer felt safe in my environment.

The following week, our client came back after discussing with their financial team and told us that they no longer agreed to pay what we were asking for. We sat down with them and agreed on a new price, but ever since this situation there has been tension between our company and this client. While the client never found out about our attempt to rip them off I believe they knew something was going on. To this day, I will not take back what I said to my team. I know that they now know what I said was right, while none of them have admitted it to me I can feel it.

In the real world and at work we can’t always make what we feel are the best decisions, sometimes we have to succumb to those with more authority than our selves, but it doesn’t mean you can’t express what you’re feeling to them. I knew what I was feeling wouldn’t be the popular observation but if I hadn’t said anything, if I hadn’t tried- I would have regretted it.  Although I am a part of that team which went astray, I know that I have a clean slate. Where as if I hadn’t said anything I would feel awful and have some repenting to do. I still feel badly that my team made the decision it did; I just hope that they learned from this.

I like to believe that I am a person with an open heart and mind. I feel it is in the best interest of everyone to see things from perspectives that may not be familiar. When making a decision we must remember not just what is it lawfully correct but also ethically and vise versa. I enjoyed this class because it challenged me to think of things I had never considered. Life changing decisions may take months to think over or it may be a gut instinct. Every situation is different and should be treated as so, but if you think of what you would do ahead of time you may be better prepared.

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