Social Workers in the New York Times: A National Portrayal


Social Work

Date of Paper/Work


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Type of Paper/Work

Clinical research paper


Lisa R. Kiesel


Social work is a profession that is diverse and difficult to define, and the way in which social workers are portrayed in the news provides information on the profession to the general public. There is little previous research on the subject of social workers portrayed in the news. To fill this gap in information, this study seeks to answer the question of how are social workers portrayed in national news stories published by the New York Times from 2010 to 2015. A textual analysis of 50 New York Times articles was collected using ProQuest Newsstand. Articles were then analyzed using grounded theory. Major themes that emerged included: how social workers are defined, what roles they play, stereotypes of social workers and their clients, the politics of emotion, and newsworthiness of social workers. Social workers in these articles are often vaguely defined and seldom the subject of the story. Future studies should help to further the understanding of how these portrayals influence public opinion and policy that govern the practice of social work.


social workers, portrayal of social worker

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.