Five years in the news: A media analysis of Child, Youth and Family in two daily newspapers (2008–2012)


  • Barbara Staniforth University of Auckland
  • Elizabeth Beddoe University of Auckland



social work, social workers, news media, media analysis, Child Youth and Family.


INTRODUCTION: This article describes a subset of data relating to the term “Child Youth and Family” from a media analysis of two major Aotearoa New Zealand newspapers from 2008 to 2012 and reports on the major themes emerging from a qualitative analysis of these articles.

METHODS: A search was conducted within the online versions of the New Zealand Herald and the Otago Daily Times for the years 2008 to 2012 on the search terms: “social work,” “social worker” and “child youth and family.” A qualitative thematic analysis of 1,512 articles within the data set “child youth and family” was conducted.

FINDINGS: Child Youth and Family (CYF) content overwhelmingly made up the largest sub-set of the data and within that subset, the reporting was principally related to crime and abuse. Social workers were seen mainly as receivers of referrals and of removing children and placing them in “care.” There was little mention of intervention or treatment.  There were many reports of the ways things went badly in the process, and at those times social workers were reportedly at the forefront.

 CONCLUSION: The CYF content presents a limited view of social work, with potential implications for the scope of social work practice being limited to removal of children, and a reduction in the acknowledgement of the wider scope of treatment and intervention. There is also an emphasis on criticism of social workers when children are the victims of violence that occurs within a wider socio-political context. 

Author Biography

Barbara Staniforth, University of Auckland

Barbara Staniforth and Liz Beddoe both work in the School of Counselling, Human Services and Social Work in the Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Auckland.


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How to Cite

Staniforth, B., & Beddoe, E. (2017). Five years in the news: A media analysis of Child, Youth and Family in two daily newspapers (2008–2012). Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, 29(4), 5–18.



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