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March 26, 2010
Good PR Doesn't Wait on 'Formal Complaints'

Everyone, please understand: this is not a religiously motivated post. It's about what it takes to conduct public relations with integrity, and it's truly sad that it's in the context of Pope Benedict and the Roman Catholic Church. But a cardinal principle of good PR is empathy, walking in another person's shoes.

What troubles us about the allegations of sexual abuse by priests that are confronting the church is the repeated refrain: "We never received a formal complaint."

In a current case, this is about receiving "formal complaints" from pupils at a school for the deaf in Verona who would have had to make such complaints to a bishop. Come on, now, who in respect to positions of status and access could have expected that to happen?

When indications of wrongdoing arise, the best PR, the only PR in terms of PR as a responsible profession, is to go to the scene, check them out, and redress any grievances immediately -- not wait for "formal complaints" to be filed. By then, if they ever appear, it's far too late to correct any wrongs that have been occurring.

A cardinal principle, folks. Simply that. 




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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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