Incompetent or child-snatchers: how media coverage of social work impacts the profession

In a new episode of our Learn on the Go podcast, two academics discuss the hostile environment surrounding social work

Photo: Alextype/Fotolia

In June, Community Care launched our Choose Social Work campaign to champion the profession and inspire the next generation of social workers.

As part of this, we are exploring how the often negative media coverage of the profession affects social workers – and how it can be improved.

In this episode of our Learn on the Go podcast series, from Community Care Inform, two expert guests discuss media coverage, blame and shame of social workers.

The guests are Dr Liz Frost, associate professor of social work at the University of the West of England, and Dr Maria Leedham, senior lecturer in applied linguistics at the Open University.

They discuss Maria’s research into mentions of social workers in UK newspapers and TV dramas, why media coverage almost entirely focuses on child protection, and whether there are signs that this negative bias might be changing.

The podcast is available on most podcast platforms such as Apple Podcasts and Spotify, or you can find it by putting ‘Learn on the Go’ into your search engine.

You can view a written transcript of the podcast here.

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One Response to Incompetent or child-snatchers: how media coverage of social work impacts the profession

  1. :) :) December 21, 2023 at 7:18 pm #

    Having lived a fairly international and at times non-western life over the last 30 plus years, I found that, the BBC, ITV and Sky News (to name a few big ones), have a huge inward, politically driven perspective, and at times, just not accurate or balanced or just not reporting things that should be reported if the media controllers were non-biased. So of course Social Work, being a public service that requires (mich more) money, the right-wing ideology has no time for people who rely on services or those who work in public services (Inc. Nurses and teachers).
    The podcast is good, so often other professionals (in my real work experience), give no respect to SW’ers yet still need them to lead all multi-agency meetings!! The big big problem is that I have met too many of the ‘bad’ social workers, because they are easily noticed, brash, opinionated, on a power-trip and presumptious. Also in my experience they, due to staff shortage desperation, those social workers who bad-mouth parents and put children in care with no remorse get away with it. Another perspective is that local authority social workers who do get media coverage or recognition through awards, to me, just sound like media trained Council workers or politicians, saying all the buzz words but never making the powerful statements needed. In my 10 years of social work, I have heard perhaps 2 social work trainers/academics speak powerfully and without fear. The difference those speeches make…not sure. I will never see social work fulfill its potential to gain any sense of equality. Not whilst our media give priority air time to certain US rich ex-presidents and nasty UK-IP idiots.