Winners of the inaugural BASW Social Work Journalism Awards 2023
The BASW Social Work Journalism Awards was launched this year to celebrate creative, informed and sensitive reporting that demonstrates an outstanding understanding of the profession.
The new award is part of a wider campaign by BASW and the Social Workers Union to improve the public’s perception of social work. Entries and nominations were sought across six categories covering mainstream print and broadcast, and trade journalism.
The finalists attended a special awards reception at BASW’s annual conference in Birmingham on 13 June. Two additional awards were presented on the night for outstanding contribution to journalism featuring social work.
Mainstream print news
- Richard Youle, for an article highlighting the millions of pounds spent on agency social workers in Wales, on Wales Online
Richard said: “'I was very surprised to find out I'd been nominated, and then chuffed to win my category. Hopefully the awards will encourage more reporting on this subject and help people appreciate the scope of what social workers do.”
Mainstream print in-depth features
- Anoosh Chakelian, for an article looking at the crisis in children’s social care in wake of the murders of Star Hobson and Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, in The New Statesman
Anoosh said: “I'm delighted to win and incredibly grateful to the BASW Social Work Media Awards panel both for this decision but also for setting up such a vital new set of awards. It's wonderful to have such recognition for journalism that can often be challenging to pursue and overlooked as social work itself so often is.”
Mainstream broadcast news
- Lucy Kapasi, for a ‘day in the life’ of a social worker piece in wake of the Arthur Labinjo-Hughes tragedy, on ITV Central.
Lucy said: "The way we protect our children is under intense scrutiny. Yet I couldn't remember seeing a TV news feature that heard from social workers in any depth or went behind the scenes to see what they do day-to-day. This kind of report can be difficult to get off the ground. Councils tend to be nervous to let journalists in so I applaud Birmingham Children's Trust for agreeing to give our cameras exclusive access to three of its social workers in child protection over two full days. Thank you very much for the award. I hope this kind of journalism and the awards themselves help persuade local authorities of the benefits of being more open with the media."
Mainstream broadcast in-depth features (joint winners)
- Terri White, for an item called Finding Britain’s Ghost Children, on Radio 5 Live AND
- Ben Robinson (producer), for an item on how the cost of living crisis is forcing families into poverty and children into care reported by Paul Connolly on Radio 4’s File on 4
Dan Maudsley from Radio 5 Live commented: "We are immensely proud of this podcast. We tackled many difficult issues but one that became abundantly clear during the making of the series was just how unfairly social work has been portrayed across the media. It's thanks to the team at 5 Live, and to Terri's bravery in confronting some of her own views, that we were able to redress some of that balance. For us to be nominated by BASW members and for our work to be recognised in this way is a real honour."
Trade press news
- Jessica Hill, for an investigation into ‘unscrupulous’ tactics used by children’s social care agencies to recruit social workers, in the Local Government Chronicle
Jessica said: "The voices and dedication of social workers themselves are too often forgotten in the race by journalists to tell a news story of child neglect, and this has damaging consequences in making social workers feel less valued and more likely to quit the profession. It’s really important that journalists remember to tell their stories too.
It was really humbling to win the award – the first of any kind I’ve ever won! It made me feel appreciated and valued as a journalist, and I’m really grateful to BASW for that.”
Trade press in-depth features
- Sharmeen Ziauddin, for an interview with a palliative care social worker, in Community Care
The two winners of the outstanding contribution to journalism featuring social work award were
- Alison Holt, the BBC’s social affairs editor, in recognition for a long and distinguished career sensitively reporting on social work and social work-related issues
Alison said: “I’m thrilled to have received this award. The stories I report on are about the way we live and the impact of changing policies on people, often this is the territory where social workers spend their lives trying to make a difference. Hopefully the new awards will encourage more understanding of and reporting about these really important issues.”
- Mithran Samuel, Editor of Community Care, for consistent reporting on the social work profession in a clear and balanced way to a specialist audience
Mithran said: “Many congratulations to all the winners and shortlisted nominees for their excellent work highlighting the complexities, challenges and successes that constitute social work. It’s an honour to be recognised alongside these talented journalists and by BASW. The awards are an excellent initiative and I have no doubt they will go from strength to strength and promote much more high-quality journalism about social work in the future.”
Dr Ruth Allen, Chief Executive of BASW, said: “We are delighted to honour these journalists who have demonstrated such an outstanding understanding of social work.
“Being part of the judging panel makes you realise that there really is some great journalism out there and some fantastic journalists reporting on our sector.
“They deserve our recognition because we know social work is not an easy sector to report on. We hope other journalists will follow their lead – and we very much look forward to recognising more great journalists the future.
“Entries for the 2024 BASW Social Work Journalism Awards are now open!"
John McGowan, General Secretary of the Social Workers Union which is supporting BASW in the awards, said: “'I have valued being part of the short-listing panel, the media awards are a great introduction and hopefully will grow every year and we can build on positive reporting of social work and the work we do.
The awards build on the new advice and guidance for journalists reporting on the work of social workers. The voluntary guidelines were developed by SWU, BASW and IMPRESS after members of the Social Workers Union and British Association of Social Workers came forward with harrowing stories about the impact poor media reporting had on them professionally and personally after being named in media pieces and being represented unfairly."