PR Council responds to Sloane's withdrawal

NEW YORK: The Council of PR Firms issued a statement Thursday in response to Sloane & Company's withdrawal from the group.

NEW YORK: The Council of PR Firms issued a statement Thursday in response to Sloane & Company's withdrawal from the group.

"We are sorry that Sloane & Company is leaving the Council. We work hard at addressing the diverse needs of member firms and welcome input from firms of all sizes on ways the Council can better assist them," said Council president Kathy Cripps in an e-mail statement to PRWeek.

She continued, "To clarify previous statements, public relations is built on trust and credibility...To that end the industry must provide full disclosure to abide by clearly defined standards of practice."

Sloane & Company CEO Elliot Sloane withdrew his agency's membership in the Council of PR Firms Wednesday following Cripps' comments defending Ketchum in a New York Times story.

In the Times article published Wednesday, Cripps said that Ketchum's contract to promote the "No Child Left Behind" act by paying a commentator did not violate the Council's code of ethics because the onus for full disclosure rested on Armstrong Williams, not the agency.

In an interview with PRWeek earlier this week, Cripps said, "I don't think Ketchum is culpable." She added, "These public education campaigns are important."

Sloane cited Cripps' apparent support of Ketchum, as well as his belief that the Council supports large agencies over smaller ones, as reasons for his exit from the ranks of its membership. "The reaction of the Council... disappointed me, because I would expect that the trade organization that represents our industry would be more forceful in talking about guidelines, roles and responsibilities, and ethics," Sloane said.

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