CA Twelve Traditions: Structural Governance

In February 2006, this blog was created to promote a twelve step program for communicators. For nearly two years, we have delved into each step. We must continue to work the program and practice these steps in all our affairs. We are not exclusive; we are an integral part of society. The Twelve Step Program for Communicators is to better the individual for better function in the industry.

The tools we use to practice communicating may evolve, but the principles of our job remain the same. It is our responsibility to use what has been passed down by predecessors, weave in original thought and lessons learned for the teaching of a new generation. Emerging technology does not wipe the slate clean and forget the roots of our industry.

Many Twelve Step programs establish guidelines of how the group should function to resolve conflicts, publicity and finances. Public Relations does not have one central representative entity. In addition to the CA Twelve Steps, I propose the CA Twelve Traditions:

  1. Our common welfare should come first; industry trust recovery depends upon marketing unity.
  2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a representative group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
  3. The only requirement for membership is a moral obligation to uphold the principles of the communications industry.
  4. Each local chapter should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or communications as a whole.
  5. Each local chapter has but one primary purpose—to carry its message to the communications professionals not practicing the CA Twelve Steps.
  6. An local chapter ought never endorse, finance, or lend the CA name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
  7. Every local chapter ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
  8. Communicators Anonymous is professionals only, but our service centers may employ special workers.
  9. CA, as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
  10. Communicators Anonymous has no opinion on outside industry issues; hence the CA name ought never be drawn into public controversy.***Still thinking this out…
  11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films.
  12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

(Adapted from AA Twelve Traditions.)

This year, CA will explore the PRSA/CIPR/IABC Code Provisions, principles and professional values and their place in the fifth estate.

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