NEW YORK: A pilot program is underway to test the Public Relations Society of America Foundations's new credibility index - a study which could force the public relations profession to take the spin out of spin-doctoring.
First launched at the PRSA conference in Boston last month, The National Issues Credibility Index is now being tested by the Society, funded by a major grant from the Rockefeller Foundation.
The index aims to measure how much faith respondents put in certain types of individuals on issues. For example, early results from the study show that on the issue of race, people put more faith in teachers andcommunity leaders than in government institutions.
PRSA president Mary Lynn Cusick said, 'While political leadership's credibility is questioned and corporate management's is challenged we need to know more about who the public trusts.' She hoped the work would demonstrate the need for leaders to earn the public's trust. 'If the concept of the index proves out, it will underscore that trust is a fragile asset earned by leaders through truthful consistency. It could redefine communications between the public and leaders, and reduce the imagined need for spinning.'
Denise Gray-Felder, president of The Foundation, told PRWeek, 'The credibility of certain issues have been tested before, but as far as we are aware this is the first time institutions and people have been tested. It should change the way we go about counseling our clients. It moves the emphasis off what is being said and onto who is saying it.'.