UC Taft Research Group hosts Reporting ACEs Workshop for area media

News professionals invited to learn about stories involving adverse childhood experiences

The University of Cincinnati’s Taft Research Group: Building Resilient Communities invites area media managers, reporters, and other interested parties to a one-hour workshop on how to cover stories and interact with sources who have dealt with adverse childhood experiences.

 ACEs defined

While “adverse childhood experiences” (ACEs) may impact child development, they can also affect people into adulthood. And now, given Ohio’s increased focus on mental health treatment, adverse childhood experiences factor more prominently in media coverage.

“Governor DeWine has consistently talked about his emphasis on increasing Ohio's mental health care resources. By the time he leaves office, DeWine will have championed more than a billion dollars of increased state expenditures targeted at vulnerable populations,” says Brian Calfano, professor of journalism in UC’s College of Arts and Sciences, and a member of the research group.

“Both the issue's inherent relevance and DeWine's consistent prioritization highlights the import of media coverage that's sensitive to characterizing ACEs data properly,” he says.   

Media coverage

But how outlets describe and investigate ACEs may cause unintended harm. For example, the instruments measuring trauma cannot offer predictions about future behavior. Yet that is how some media characterize ACEs measures in their reporting. 

“We want to give news managers and reporters a few key takeaways about creating stories using ACEs data,” Calfano says. “Specifically, what conclusions can a reporter draw from an analysis of the number of adverse childhood experiences a person encountered? There are some safe ways to go, and some pitfalls to avoid.

“That's why this training opportunity is important. And, at the end of the day, this kind of careful approach to informing the public through data analysis needs adoption on a variety of topics.”      

ACEs workshop

Taft’s Research Group on ACEs May 31st workshop offers news managers and reporters tips for effective and accurate characterization of ACEs and associated data. The workshop features simulations to help frame ACEs stories to reflect what health care professionals understand about these traumatic experiences.

All participants receive an ACEs coverage awareness poster to display in their newsroom. The Taft group will provide a to-go lunch.

Please RSVP by May 26th to Brian Calfano, UC Department of Journalism: Brian.Calfano@uc.edu. Validated parking provided for attendees who RSVP by May 26th.

Featured image at top: Media reporting on a story. Credit/Matt C on Unsplash

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