The Arthur W. Page Center for Integrity in Public Communication has conducted oral history interviews with dozens of the nation’s most influential public relations practitioners. The Page Center website features a vast collection of transcripts and videos of these interviews. On this blog, we will highlight some of the advice given by professionals on attaining positions in the field of public relations.
Emmanuel Tchividjian serves as the Executive Director, Ethics Consulting Practice for Ruder-Finn, the only PR agency with an ethics officer, ethics committee and regular ethics meetings to which all staff are invited. Tchividjian has been with the company since 1997. Prior to joining Ruder-Finn, he worked for the Government of Switzerland and in particular, was tasked with researching and telling that country’s account on issues relating to WWII and the Holocaust.
Mr. Tchividjian is a Certified Compliance & Ethics Professional from the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics (SCCE) and a member of the Ethics & Compliance Officers Association, (ECOA) the national professional association for managers of ethics and compliance programs. He is the Ethics Officer of the New York Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America as well as a member (ex-officio) of the National Board of Ethics and Professional Standards. He is also a member of the Swiss-American and French-American Chambers of Commerce.
Value of ethics becoming more evident in the information age
“I think because of media and because of the way we run our lives, we can’t get away with anything, and people think they can; people still think that you can fool someone for a long time. It’s no longer true.”
“I think more and more people realize that ethics is a very important component of what you do. Someone said, ‘Can you make a business case for ethics?’ and the answer was, ‘If you don’t have ethics, you won’t have business.’ I think there is a more general understanding that especially because of the more recent scandals that ethics is essential.”
“In public relations and in communication—communication involves everything we do—unless there is trust, the value of the exchange is very, very low. Trust is essential in any exchange and any communication. So in PR, whether it’s with journalists; whether it’s with clients; whether it’s with government; whether it’s with the media, having that trust is the most important thing. Once you lose it, it’s almost lost forever. It’s very rare to regain trust once you’ve lost it. So that is really a guideline for everything we do.”
“It may sound like expedient at the time, at the moment, but the consequences can be devastating. You have clients come and go, but the relationship with the media will stay. Once you mislead a journalist, you will never have his trust again.”