Tracey Bridges discusses the power of ethics in international publication

SenateSHJ Partner Tracey Bridges is the featured practitioner in the ethics section of a major new communications publication.

An Introduction to Public Relations and Communication Management, written by Joy Chia and Gae Synnott and published by Oxford University Press, is a key academic tool for those who are both studying and practising communications.

Tracey was invited to submit her thoughts on ethical communications practice as part of a chapter written by Dr Elspeth Tilley from Massey University.

Tracey’s contribution reflects what she has learned over two decades in communications practice and consultancy – things she wished someone had told her sooner.

  • You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    If it’s a sow’s ear say so, and either explain why it should be a sow’s ear, or what you’re going to do to change it.
  • Feel the heat and walk towards it
    Conflict can be good, and even necessary, for finding out the real nature of the situation.
  • Challenge yourself
    Don’t be satisfied that you’ve mastered something just because you’ve done it once. Read a lot, and read widely, and use what you’ve learnt in practice.

“Communicators have a place around the top table, but they have to earn it,” says Tracey. “In my own experience, adopting an ethical mindset is central to this. That means bringing rigour, curiosity and knowledge to your work. It can also mean acting as the conscience for the organisation.

“In this way, we can move from being order-takers to being influencers. This is where the real opportunity for excellence in communications lies, and I hope this book will encourage people to see the role of communicators in that context.”

Tracey is a fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Public Relations and heads SenateSHJ’s award-winning social marketing practice.

Read more about An Introduction to Public Relations and Communication Management.