By Sally Gillen
So it comes aslittle surprise that our survey of journalists reveals high levels of ignoranceabout issues such as social work being a degree-level profession and thedifferences between social work and the wider social care landscape.
This knowledge gapmust be filled. Community Care will do its bit by creating a fact sheet forjournalists. But there will not be large-scale change without the professionitself taking action.
It is easy to criticise the media for misrepresentingsocial work and, while it can seem wilful, it cannot always be the case. Ifthey get it wrong then surely social workers themselves have a role to play inhelping them to get it right.
One journalist whotook part in the survey said it was “notoriously difficult to get a social workperspective”, so she normally didn’t bother.
Understandably, councils may feelapprehensive about engaging with the media. But journalists who continuallycome up against fortress-like council press offices will find a way to telltheir story anyway. By barricading themselves out of the reach of the media,councils may believe they are protecting themselves in the short-term but they aresimply allowing poor and inaccurate reporting to thrive.