A profession, as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary, is an occupation which “involves prolonged training and a formal qualification.”
Doctors, lawyers, architects and journalists are all classed as professionals and, as such, are authorised to sign passport applications.
PR practitioners, however, are barred from signing such documents.
Despite a strong similarity between journalism and public relations, PR is not officially recognised as a profession because “anyone can practice” without specialist qualifications (Cooper, 2004).
Indeed, even former Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) president Stephen Waddington believes PR has a “long way to go” before being considered a profession (PRmoment.com, 2016).
Despite this, PR consultant Dr Johanna Fawkes argues that, qualifications aside, the hallmark of a true professional – PR or otherwise – is the “commitment to social value and high ethical standards” (FutureProof, 2015).
“Being ethical in PR needn’t be about who you work for, or how you handle major conflicts, but can be how you go about your everyday work,” she states.