National Association of Social Workers Announces 2012 NASW Media Award Winners

Recipients include films, articles, blogs that raised awareness of positive contributions of social work

WASHINGTON, D.C. —The National Association of Social Workers today announced winners of the 2012 NASW Media Awards. The recipients include documentary filmmakers, television producers, bloggers, newspaper reporters, columnists and other media professionals who helped raise awareness about social work services and critical social issues in 2011.

“The list of winners is impressive and demonstrates there is a growing awareness of the positive role of social workers in our nation as well as the societal issues they tackle each day,” said NASW Executive Director Elizabeth J. Clark, PhD, ACSW, MPH. “Social workers have played a role in incredible stories of hope, resilience and recovery and we are glad members of the media have taken notice.”

Social workers and others nominated newspaper articles, newspaper columns, magazine stories, websites, blogs, radio segments, television news programs, network and cable TV shows, commercial films and documentaries. About 800 people visited, an NASW web site that tracks how social workers are portrayed in the media, to cast their votes for the 37 nominees.

The winners are:

“From Place to Place,” a documentary produced by social worker Matt Anderson, MSW. The film examines the experience of foster children in Montana who aged out of the system. These young adults must grapple with reconnecting with their birth families, finding work, and avoiding crime. The film will also be featured at the NASW Hope Conference Film Festival in July.

Feature Film
“Change of Plans,” a made-for-television family movie that aired Jan. 8, 2011 on Fox. Actress Phylicia Rashad portrayed Dorothy, a social worker who helps a reluctant couple adopt children who had lost their parents in an accident. John Kent Harrison, an award-winning director, co-wrote and directed the film

TV News Program
“Talk Therapy TV,” a New York City public access television show created by NASW member Jacob Berelowitz. Berelowitz uses the show to educate the public about mental illness and guests include top professionals in the field.

TV Program/Entertainment
“Grey’s Anatomy” Not Responsible episode, which aired on ABC on February 24, 2011. Character Dr. Phil Stark (actor Peter MacNichol) spoke positively in support of social workers. “They are earning peanuts. They’re doing this thankless work and then they get painted for being homewreckers. For simply stepping in when children are being harmed,” Stark said. The episode was written Debora Cahn and directed by Debbie Allen.

Fostering Families Today and Adoption Today for publishing favorable stories on fostering and adoption throughout 2011. The publications, which have a combined circulation of about 21,000, offer personal stories and advice on fostering and adoptions. Social workers are often portrayed positively in stories and also author some articles.

Newspaper Article:
“A Day of Pride for Once Homeless FIU Grad” a Miami Herald article by reporter Adam Beasley. The article was about Aaron Alvin Sr., a former drug addict who beat addiction and went on to get a master’s degree in social work and help others in similar circumstances.

Huffington Post columnist Ilaina Edison wrote about the need for more social workers to serve America’s increasingly aging population. Edison called social workers the “unsung heroes” of the nation’s healthcare system. She mentioned the work of NASW member Sherri Zabko, who helped an elderly homeless woman find housing.

NPR radio host Steve Inskeep honored social worker and Congressional aide Gabe Zimmerman, MSW, who was killed in the January 2011 Tucson shootings. Zimmerman was remembered for having a knack for working with angry or difficult people.

Single Topic Blog:
The Nation’s “This Week in Poverty” blog by Greg Kaufmann regularly covers poverty issues, including unemployment, children in poor households and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families.

Social Work Podcast ( hosted by social worker Jonathan Singer, an assistant professor at Temple University, features interviews with notable social workers and other officials. Topics in 2011 included loneliness, military social work, runaways, coming out as an LGBT person and evidence-based practice.

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), in Washington, DC, is the largest membership organization of professional social workers with nearly 145,000 members. It promotes, develops, and protects the practice of social work and social workers. NASW also seeks to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through its advocacy.
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