chapter  1
46 Pages

Media reporting of social work: a framework for analysis

The recognition of ageism and the pointing out of stereotypical images of old age is a first step that gerontologists have made in understanding the importance of media images of ageing in contemporary society. Social workers cannot hold their breath waiting for gerontologists to undertake analysis of ageist discourse in the media but the outcome for practitioners can be anticipated from other analyses. Seeing media images of growing older as part of a process of social construction, changes our response to those images. Structural features of the different contexts legitimate the use of images and categories that effectively diminish the power and autonomy of those who are old. There can be an illusory satisfaction derived from pointing to the excesses of some media images; critical awareness should involve reviewing our own presuppositions and the concepts adopted in professional practice, as well as the range of images in the media.