The Image of Social Services in the Media: Before and during the Covid-19 Epidemic

Ondrej Drobil

OBJECTIVES: The aim of the study is to identify and describe how Czech media outlets report on social services within the context of the Covid-19 epidemic and beyond it. THEORETICAL BASE: Our hypothesis is based on the supposition that media both create and replicate a specific image of social services and social service workers that is distorted and based on previous empirical data from studies on the representation of social services or social work in media. METHODS: The text was conceived as an empirical study that combined both qualitative and quantitative methods from the fields of sociology and corpus linguistics. OUTCOMES: Media coverage of the social services issues rose during the Covid-19 epidemic. The tone of most articles was mostly neutral and the media tended to favour certain services or types of organisations; and these outlets often used erroneous or misleading terminology or jargon. SOCIAL WORK IMPLICATIONS: Media cannot comprehensively convey how social services function in society for the average citizen. There is a need for professionals to become more actively involved in media discourse as well as projects on journalists’ training on the basics of social work.

social services, media, covid-19, media analysis, corpus linguistics

p. 54-71

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