The media has had more impact on how we learn about current events, gossip and news than ever before. Mass media play a critical role in shaping public opinion and public policy formation for various social issues, according to a study done in 2007. Many of us have stopped buying newspapers as a result of the ability to read about various topics on the internet. This mode of communication and information has proven to be effective and relevant.
Many academics has researched how important a role the media can play in educating society about the growing issue of elder abuse. There have not been any national coverage on the major networks, either as a news report or as a subject matter on a television weekly magazine show.
According to a study by Mastin, Choi, Barboza and Pope (2007), when elder abuse is reported in newspapers, most coverage is often focused on incidents in long-term care settings. This is sad considering that most incidents occur in domestic settings. I must say that the internet news coverage does report elder abuse incidents in domestic settings. Unfortunately, everyone does not research or look for these reports when surfing the internet.
Another finding these scholars observed was that elder abuse has received attention in both social science and media venues. Elder abuse is a major health concern that needs to be approached from that perspective. This health problem has costs the federal, state and local governments billions of dollars. Elder abuse professionals have made strides to use the media to get the message out there.
As I always mention, please report all incidents to the proper authorities. You can also find information on the National Center on Elder Abuse’s website at http://www.ncea.aoa.gov.
Please feel free to leave your questions or comment.
Mastin, T., Choi, J., Barboza, G. and Pope, L. (2007). Newspapers’ framing of elder abuse: It’s not a family affair. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, December 2007, vol. 84, no. 4 777- 794