Social work and the media: A collaborative challenge
Keywords:media, public perception of social work, journalism, interprofessional education,
AbstractThe news media play a substantial role in providing the public with information about social workers, the people they serve and the public perception of issues affecting vulnerable people. This information provides a platform for public discussion and performs a key role in making public opinion about what social workers do and how well they do it. Negative and inaccurate news reporting undermines public confidence in service provision, profoundly challenges the professionalism of social workers, thereby increasing risk to the vulnerable. Resolving this conflict is challenging; social workers and journalists each have motivations, accountabilities and structural issues thatlead to the inaccurate media portrayal of social work-related stories. This article focuses on the potential of interprofessional education to better manage these barriers, producing socially responsive journalists, media savvy social workers and a collaborative approach towards social justice and democracy. It offers a sampling of interprofessional education projects between schools of social work and journalism, and makes a case for further study in New Zealand.
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