Community Care has once more challenged the Sun’s attitude to social workers following an invitation from the General Social Care Council to its annual conference to the paper’s problem page editor ‘Dear’ Deidre Sanders.
According to a blog post from workforce editor Daniel Lombard, Community Care forum users were outraged by the move, arguing that the views of Deidre’s employers would prevent the two parties from working together. Some called for the invitation to be revoked.
The agony aunt responded with an article for the magazine’s site in which she outlined her commitment to improving the sector and using her clout within the newspaper industry to build bridges.
But according to Lombard, her mention of the baby Peter case in the piece undermined the agony aunt’s intentions:
“It was a clear and convincing argument – until the arrogance of her employers seeped into an otherwise sensible contribution to the debate (…) Was it really necessary to once again seek to justify her employer’s misguided attack on the profession in the wake of the baby Peter case?”
ComCare’s campaign to improve media coverage of social work, Stand Up Now for Social Work, was launched partly in response to the Sun’s coverage of baby Peter’s death. The newspaper ran a petition calling for every social worker who had been involved in the case to be sacked and prevented from working with children again. Readers were encouraged to contact the newspaper if they knew any of the social workers involved, community editor for Community Care, Simeon Brody, told Journalism.co.uk back in March.
The magazine also recently ran a survey of journalists to gauge their knowledge of social work in the UK. Sixty-eight per cent of respondents thought that a care worker was a social work post, while 37 per cent said they didn’t know if social work was better today than 15 years ago.