The results of a recent survey into journalist’s knowledge of social work in the UK worringly suggest some severe gaps in understanding of the industry.
The study by Community Care, the magazine covering all areas of the social care profession, suggested that fewer than half of those surveyed knew a degree is required in order to be a social worker.
The questionnaire is part of the title’s wider ‘Stand Up For Social Work’ campaign.
The 10-question survey, which was completed by 30 journalists in a variety of both national and local media positions, including 3 specialist social care writers, also found that 68 per cent of respondents said ‘care worker’ was a social work post; and 37 per cent had no idea whether or not social workers are any better today than 15 years ago.
According to Community Care’s report on the survey last month, the findings did not come as a surprise to British Association for Social Workers chief executive, Hilton Dawson:
“We know that even the supposedly better quality print and broadcast media is ignorant of social work from the way they use outdated words such as social services and child protection or at-risk registers so I’m sorry to say that your findings don’t come as any surprise at all.”
But BASW is taking positive action in light of these findings and will be appointing a public relations manager for the first time, who will be tasked with building relationships with journalists and help improve understanding of social work within the media.
Community Care is also planning to release a factsheet for journalists reporting on the industry.