Social work in the media

Jan 3, 2014 by

BASW Media Training

 

With the recent media training I delivered to the new professional officers at the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) it made me think again about how important it is to hear the voices of social workers in the UK. There’s so much more of their experience that they can share and educate the public about if we encouraged (or even allowed) ordinary social workers to have access to and have contact with the media. Social workers do such a complicated, difficult and on occasions heart rendering job that energy and confidence levels are severely challenged by the overwhelming negative publicity in all forms of media.

Contrary to some opinion, I find that if only local authorities would stop confusing confidentiality with secrecy and allow some front line workers to tell the public more about what the job entails then when difficult times arise there would be so much more balance in the public mind.

I know that BASW have asked to be contacted by social workers interested in putting themselves forward to talk to local media, but we need national endorsement, radical reassessment of permissions and a completely different professional statement about the role of social workers in society today. If you are a social worker, would you like to do this and would you feel media training as valuable?

When I was heavily involved, both nationally and internationally, with social work, I was always both envious and surprised by the status accorded social workers in other western industrialised countries who do exactly the same jobs that social workers do here. However the description of a social worker as being an independent professional in a corporate environment rings so much more truly abroad than it often does in the UK. We need the voices of those that know the work to inform those they work for in the community more clearly about what they do (or more to the point what they don’t do). There seems to be representation from all sorts of other professions informing the public on  a daily basis and giving clarity to the services they offer. We need a sea change in how we interact through the media with the public. As I’ve said before, it is the majority of peoples window on the world for all peoples information, opinion and debate.

I think that, sadly, times have caught up with us and social work at the very least needs a new window dressing so we can showcase all the good work as well as having to constantly defend ourselves that challenge us.

I really value hearing your opinions so please use the new facility on the left hand side of the page which enables you to leave a voicemail, some of which I hope to use on my coming ‘Thoughts on the Social World’ podcasts released every Thursday.

If you are interested in receiving media training by David Niven Associates read more about it or email info@dnivenassociates.co.uk

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