Social Work in the Media

Media Training for Social Workers



A comprehensive study, conducted by David Niven Associates, has demonstrated that social work staff feel the representation of their profession is unduly negative as “the media never acknowledges the good work and outcomes achieved” because “the positives in social work are never reported”.

As a consequence of this participants feel they “have no doubt that aggressive media targeting of social workers in the wake of scandals/tragedies makes the job of practitioners more difficult” as it “makes it difficult to maintain equal relationships with other professionals and appear competent when working with families”. The consequences on morale are evident – “it is demoralising and leaves a strong sense of anger which I find difficult to live with”.

“Why don’t we discuss our processes and involve the public?” one participant suggests, and this is where DNA would like to support social work employers by training staff in how to best communicate positive stories with the media.

Only 6.9% of participants feel frontline social workers should not be seen and heard more in the media.

The overwhelming positive response to the exposure of frontline staff is evidenced in quotes such as “I do feel that front line social workers should be heard, by doing this it could aid the government to have a better understanding of the communities in which we work and inform future social policies”.

This initiative is supporting those who do want to be in the media. There is a continuous worry that front line staff will not be prepared and “they will need training […] to deal with this appropriately” and “not everyone is comfortable being in the media”. There should not be mandatory reporting of stories, or making it compulsory for all social workers to talk to the media. We will support and train staff whose employers agree to share their positive stories with the public to improve the working conditions for their colleagues. Many have reported they would welcome this.

The trainers bring expertise through practice and academia – a social work expert who has repeatedly appeared in the media over the past 20 years and a professional linguist whose doctorate was focussed on the language of the media and therefore is helping those wishing to convey their messages clearly and effectively.

All training is bespoke to your needs, for front line staff or social work managers.


For information on media training for social workers email or call 0845 833 0859

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