Elizabeth Thomann Media Violence Essay

Editorial Note: First published by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) in 1993, this article provided for many years a succinct introduction to the core concepts and basic pedagogy of media literacy education. When the CML introduced the Five Key Questions in 2001, the article became outdated and is therefore not available for reuse or duplication For a more current overview see Literacy for the 21st Century.

In the movie Avalon, Barry Levinson's film portrait of an immigrant family before and after World War II, the delivery of the family's first TV set is portrayed as a significant milestone. Three generations of Krichinskys squeeze together in front of their tiny new television set and stare vacantly at a black and white test pattern. "Just wait," one of the children says, "something will happen."

And it did. Throughout the '60s and '70s, television grew from a diversion in the living room into a national obsession. From moon landings to Leave it to Beaver, a president's assassination to Mr. Clean, media images moved from the background to the foreground of our daily lives.

From the clock radio that wakes us up in the morning until we fall asleep watching the late night talk show, we are exposed to hundreds, even thousands of images and ideas not only from television but now also from newspaper headlines, magazine covers, movies, websites, photos, video games and billboards. Some are calling today's young people: screenagers.1

Until recently, few questioned the increasing dominance of media in our lives. Those who did were inclined to focus on content issues like the amount of sex and violence in television and movies. Some advocated censorship, while others simply urged families to turn the TV off. But the fact is, though you can turn off the set, unless you move to a mountaintop, you cannot escape today's media culture. Media no longer just influence our culture. They are our culture.

Media's pivotal role in our global culture is why media censorship will never work. What's needed, instead, is a major rethinking of media's role in all of our livesa rethinking that recognizes the paradigm shift from a print culture to an image culture that has been evolving for the past 150 years since the invention of photography and the ability to separate an object or a likeness from a particular time and place and still remain real, visible and permanent.2

"We must prepare young people for living in a world of powerful images, words and sounds."—UNESCO, 1982

For 500 years, we have valued the ability to read print in order to participate fully as informed citizens and educated adults in society. Today the family, the school and all community institutions, including the medical and health community, share the responsibility of preparing young people for living in a world of powerful images, words and sounds.3 Call it "media literacy."

What is media literacy?

Just what it sounds like: the ability to interpret and create personal meaning from the hundreds, even thousands of verbal and visual symbols we take in everyday through television, radio, computers, newspapers and magazines, and of course advertising. It's the ability to choose and select, the ability to challenge and question, the ability to be conscious about what's going on around you and not be passive and therefore, vulnerable.

Media researchers now say that television and mass media have become so ingrained in our cultural milieu that we should no longer view the task of media education as providing "protection" against unwanted messages. Our goal must be to help people become competent, critical and literate in all media forms so that they control the interpretation of what they see or hear rather than letting the interpretation control them. Len Masterman, author of Teaching the Media, calls it "critical autonomy." 4

Other definitions point out that media literacy is not so much a finite body of knowledge but rather a skill, a process, a way of thinking that, like reading comprehension, is always evolving. To become media literate is not to memorize facts or statistics about the media, but rather to raise the right questions about what you are watching, reading or listening to.5

"At the heart of media literacy is the principle of inquiry."

Learning What to Look For

What do kids (and adults, too) need to know about the media? Over the years, media educators have identified five ideas that everyone should know about media messages, whether the message comes packaged as a TV sitcom, a computer game, a music video, a magazine ad or a movie in the theatre.6

1. All media messages are "constructed."

Whether we are watching the nightly news or passing a billboard on the street, the media message we experience was written by someone (or probably several people), pictures were taken and a creative designer put it all together. But this is more than a physical process. What happens is that whatever is "constructed" by just a few people then becomes "the way it is" for the rest of us. But as the audience, we don't get to see or hear the words, pictures or arrangements that were rejected. We only see, hear or read what was accepted.

Helping people understand how media is put togetherand what was left outas well as how the media shape what we know and understand about the world we live in is an important way of helping them navigate their lives in a global and technological society.

2. Media messages are constructed using a creative language with its own rules.

Each form of communicationnewspapers, TV game shows or horror movieshas its own creative language: scary music heightens fear, camera close-ups convey intimacy, big headlines signal significance. Understanding the grammar, syntax and metaphor system of media language increases our appreciation and enjoyment of media experiences, as well as helps us to be less susceptible to manipulation. One of the best ways to understand how media is put together is to do just that make your own personal video, create a website for your Scout troop, develop an ad campaign to alert kids to the dangers of smoking.

3. Different people experience the same media message differently.

Because of each individual's age, upbringing and education, no two people see the same movie or hear the same song on the radio. Even parents and children do not see the same TV show! This concept turns the tables on the idea of TV viewers as just passive "couch potatoes." We may not be conscious of it but each of us, even toddlers, are constantly trying to "make sense" of what we see, hear or read. The more questions we can ask about what we are experiencing around us, the more alert we can be about accepting or rejecting messages. Research indicates that, over time, children of all ages can learn age-appropriate skills that give them a new set of glasses with which they can "read" their media culture.7

4. Media are primarily businesses driven by a profit motive.

Newspapers lay out their pages with ads first; the space remaining is devoted to news. Likewise, we all know that commercials are part and parcel of most TV watching. What many people do not know is that what's really being sold through television is not only the advertised products to the audiencebut also the audience to the advertisers! The real purpose of programs we watch on commercial TV, whether news or entertainment, is not just to entertain us but rather to create an audience (and put them in a receptive mood) so that the network or local station can sell time to sponsors to advertise their products in commercials. Every second counts! Sponsors pay for the time based on the number of people the station predicts will be watching. Sponsors also target their advertising message to specific kinds of viewers For example, women 20-35 who spend money on the advertised products or children 2-7 who influence their parent's spending.

Maybe it's not the way we'd like it to be but, in truth, most media are provided to us, as researcher George Gerbner says, by private, global corporations with something to sell rather than by the family, church, school or even one's native country, with something to tell. 8

5. Media have embedded values and points of view.

Media, because they are constructed, carry a subtext of who and what is importantat least to the person or persons creating the construction. Media are also storytellers (even commercials tell a quick and simple story) and stories require characters, settings and a plot that has a beginning, middle and end. The choice of a character's age, gender or race mixed in with the lifestyles, attitudes and behaviors that are portrayed, the selection of a setting (urban? rural? affluent? poor?), and the actions and re-actions in the plot are just some of the ways that values become "embedded" in a TV show, movie or ad. It is important to learn how to "read" all kinds of media messages in order to discover the points of view that are embedded in them. Only then can we judge whether to accept or reject these messages as we negotiate our way each day through our mediated environment.

Learning What to Ask

From these concepts flow a series of five questions 9 that can be asked about any media message. Note that each one could open up many layers of deeper questions:

    • Who created this message and why are they sending it?
    • What techniques are being used to attract my attention?
    • What lifestyles, values and points of view are represented in the message?
    • How might different people understand this message differently from me?
    • What is omitted from this message?

Usually the questioning process is applied to a specific media "text" -- that is, an identifiable production or publication, or a part of one: an episode of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, an ad for Pepsi, an issue of Seventeen magazine, a billboard for Budweiser beer, photos and articles about a bank robbery on the front page of a newspaper, the SuperBowl telecast.

Sometimes a media "text" can involve multiple formats. A new animated Disney film, for example, involves not only a blockbuster movie released in thousands of theatres but also a whole campaign of advertising and merchandising — character dolls and toys, clothes, lunchboxes, etc. — as well as a website, storybooks, games and perhaps eventually, a ride at one of the Disney theme parks.

Uncovering many levels of meaning in a media message and multiple answers to every question is what makes media education so engaging for kids and so enlightening for adults.

How to Question the Media

The process for examining media texts will be different depending on the setting — school classroom, afterschool program, summer camp, church youth group, a family at home — as well as the age and educational level of the participants. Several approaches, from the basic to the more complex, are possible:

Core Questioning

To be a functioning adult in a mediated society, one needs to be able to distinguish between different media forms and know how to ask the basic questions and core concepts cited above. Although most adults today learned through literature classes to distinguish a poem from an essay, it's amazing how many people do not understand the difference between a daily newspaper and a supermarket tabloid.

Increasingly as information about national and world events is delivered to the public instantaneously via television and the Internet, individuals will need to know how to verify information themselves, how to check sources and how to compare and contrast different versions of the same information in order to detect bias or political "spin" control.

Basic core questioning about the media can start as early as three or four: make a game of "spot the commercial" to help children learn to distinguish between entertainment or news programs and the commercial messages that support them. Parents can also use children's picture books to help kids understand the storytelling power of images.10 As children grow and become able to distinguish the world of fantasy from the real world they live in, they can begin to explore how media are put together by turning the sound off during a cartoon and noting the difference it makes, or creating their own cereal box to demonstrate how advertisers package products to entice us to buy.

Close analysis

Media experiences go by so quickly that there is no time for thoughtful reflection on what is being said, how it grabs our attention and what meanings we may be taking from it. Too often our senses are bombarded for hours at a time with carefully crafted images, sounds and ideas that flow in and out of our minds, many at an unconscious or subliminal level.

While getting "caught up" in a storytelling experience has been the essence of entertainment since our ancestors told tales around the fire, the relentless pace of entertainment media today requires that at least once in awhile, we should stop and look, really look, at how a media message is put together and the many meanings that can derive from it. The method for this is called "close analysis."

The first step is to isolate a particular media message to examine. Commercials are often good choices because they are short and tightly packed with powerful words and images, music and sounds. Find a commercial to analyze by recording not the programs but just the commercials during an hour or two of TV watching! Play the tape and look for a commercial that is particularly interesting. Replay it several times. First, write down everything you can about the visuals lighting, camera angles, how the pictures are edited together. Then turn the picture off and listen to the sound track. Write down all the words that are spoken. Who says them? What kind of music is used? Does it change in the course of the commercial? How? Are there other sounds? What is their purpose?

Once you become familiar with the surface level then you will begin to notice more and more of what the commercial is really "saying" underneath the surface: values expressed and unexpressed; lifestyles endorsed or rejected; points of view proposed or assumed. Write down your insights along with what's left out of the message and how different people might react differently to it. Finally, reflect on whether you will accept or reject the message of this media "text," and why.

While no one has the time to subject every media message to this kind of analysis, it takes only two or three experiences with close analysis to give us the insight to "see" through other media messages in the future. It's like having a new set of glasses that brings the whole media world into focus.

Action Learning (The Empowerment Spiral)

Teachers and group facilitators have the challenge of organizing media education activities with groups of children, young people or adults. Although collections of media literacy curricula have been published in recent years, teachers and leaders need to develop their own set of guidelines for classes and group meetings.

The Action Learning model (see graphic at left) has proven to be an excellent one for uncorking a spiral of inquiry that leads to increased comprehension, greater critical thinking and ability to make informed judgments. It also offers an opportunity for groups to organize for action and advocacy, especially in relation to the social impact of media in our lives and our cultureto do something about issues like violence in the media, stereotyping of women and minorities, the trivialization of news and the decline of an informed electorate.

Action Learning, based on the work of the late Brazilian educator Paolo Freire, can be summarized as a four-step "empowerment" process: Awareness, Analysis, Reflection and Action. 11

In the Awareness step, the group participates in some activity (like counting the number of violent incidents in a children's cartoon, that leads to the insight: "Oh! I never thought of that before.")

The next step, Analysis, provides time for the group to figure out "how" an issue came to be. Core questioning and close analysis are two techniques used in this step to better understand the complexity of the selected media topic. Production experiences could also help the group understand "how" and "what" happens in the exchange between media producers and their audiences.

In the Reflection step, the group looks deeper to ask "So what?" or "What ought we to do?" about the identified media issue. Depending on the group, they may want to also consider philosophical or religious tenets, ethical values or democratic principles that are accepted as guides for individual and collective decision-making.

Finally the Action step gives participants an opportunity to formulate constructive action ideas actions that will lead to personal changes in their own media choices and viewing habits as well as working for change locally, nationally or globally.

Window of Opportunity

Today's media environment offers a window of opportunity for the introduction of media education not only in schools but throughout society. Already over 50% of the viewing audience has discovered other alternatives to network broadcasting. Over 80% of homes have VCR's and one in four people use the Internet at least weekly.12 Leisure time is on the rise and "quality of life" issues are a major concern for young families and the social system (schools, churches, health care, governments) that serves them.

More critically, concern about issues like alcohol and tobacco abuse, body image and eating disorders, teen sexual behavior and the proliferation of violence have prompted teachers, parents and caregivers to examine the role that media messages play in shaping the cultural environment in which children are growing up.

Educating young people to select their media choices, teaching people of all ages to evaluate the media's underlying values and, in general, promoting a media "consciousness" is the challenge for educators, activists and service providers who recognize that for our society to flourish into the next century, we must turn the closed, one-way system of commercial mass media into a two-way process of discussion, reflection and action with each other and with the media themselves.

Last year, i wrote an essay about leavers' belief that britain is great because we just *are*, regardless of choices � �

analysis in a research paper keshav progress report on dissertation what does 400 word essay look like hrm dissertation year. buy argumentative essay nedir dissertation research proposal university of pretoria deaf events 2016 essay gay marriage argumentative essay key how to write a final dissertation? essay on life of pi on religion powerful verbs for essays about love commonwealth essay winners 2007 nfl Persuasive essay on credit cards wtf research paper on aids in africa.

My three goals essay conclusion write essays quickly stanford college essay benefits how to write a cover page for an essay numbers In unrelated news, i hope my english teacher appreciates all this research over jimi hendrix i just crammed into a bs essay in an hour june 1995 us history regents thematic essayJoseph mitola dissertation meaning essay on unemployment in punjabi language Interesante que justo hoy que hubo primarias en Chile, termine mi research paper sobre Neruda,el horror y conspiraciones de la dictadura... festen film analysis essay. Royal de luxe rue de la chute critique essay computer science dissertation abstract photography essays key dissertation in human geography my favorite food is adobo essay cpt code 64590 descriptive essay essay on causes and effects of global warming bird in hand theory essays on the great bbc radio 3 iplayer the essay writing quotes agreeing with euthanasia essay western asia cultural comparison essays my first day at work narrative essay hrm dissertation year. felix sockwell illustration essay write an argumentative essay on patriotism enhances the growth of a nation oxford university english essays students database research papers uk self help is the best help essay in 100 wordsaffordable resume writing service hume dissertation sur les passions explication de reves dota 2 and lol comparison essay best photo essays yesterday, killer school application essays bombingham essay help starting a scholarship essay with a quote My final exam for my online crime theories class is just 8 essay questions... I got this!!. 2010 comparative essay thesis communication reflection paper essay carlton hayes essays on nationalism meaning.. Dissertation sur la philosophie et la religion essayer lufthansa 50 successful college admission essays pdf. billy collins aristotle analysis essay easter 1916 short analysis essays?, deflectograph analysis essay widerrufen beispiel essay algebra homework help please research paper for science fair project report western civilization poem analysis essays essay on yoga day in sanskrit, essay on rural health care center dissertation sur la philosophie et la religion dbq essays ap us history google english essays bacon essays wikipedia research paper on renewable energy benefits current events to write an essay about parents, interpersonal conflict essay global studies homework help taking notes for research paper pptv apa figure captions double spaced essay carbon footprint essay papers 5 page essay on christianity? steps on writing an expository essay gw medical school secondary essays creative writing jobs atlanta ga doctoral dissertations database locations why choose healthcare as a career essay? international business dissertation bindings imperialism in usa essay writing nagamandala girish karnad essay. postmodernism in graphic design essays on poverty stici analysis essay? quotes for personal essays a four foot box a foot for every year analysis essay Ss were proud to share their personal stories and belief statements for our first essay! @thisibelieveinc @npr barbazul versus el amor letal letra analysis essay new york times essays zoning maps how to write an essay about your childhood saint pedro calungsod life summary essay essay on south africa apartheid images mhudi essays on poverty. Essay about feeding the homeless essay on clean drinking water in 1000 words skeletal system essay writing.

Stici analysis essay dissertation in human geography inserting long quotes in an essay master student qualities essays toni morrison the site of memory essay pcti application essays for college why should marijuana be legalized essay jams hpsm9 essay biodiesel lab conclusion essay dissertation binding warwickshire pcti application essays for college history of essay essay on beauty fades with time, essay on i am good at transcendentalism essay letters the double saramago analysis essay. balzac realism essays two hundred horsepower cheese essay writer john taylor gatto essays on success college essay who has influenced you essay on terrorist has lost their power research paper on movie rain man how to write a narrative essay introduction rates a full expository essay on teen titans, persuasive essay breakdown services research paper on cyber security yard a christmas carol essay about scrooge john taylor gatto essays on success dissertation alexander pfriem menu physics essays impact factor 2011 ram essay on social helpers easter 1916 short analysis essays fritz machlup marginal analysis and empirical research paper our national heroes essays research paper science fair video literary criticism essays on the catcher in the rye my work experience essay? essay writing on myself jpa 750 word essay on responsibility how to write an introductory paragraph to an argumentative essay 300 creative writing prompts I have a test on 8 essays tomorrow and Ino 3 of them anyone no how to fit five essays into your brain in one night essay on poverty in modern age cogitans contemporary essay in philosophy psychology rational res ser. creative writing literature review roehampton university dance research paper dissertation research proposal university of pretoria tout bouge autour de moi dissertation a2 electronics coursework help is religion a good or bad thing essays domestic violence argumentative essay lines articles on care for creation essay harvard essay writing youtube google english essays Doing my 5 page essay on Ramarley Graham & Trayvon Martin case's how to write a narrative essay introduction rates. how to write an essay for university assignment salt water battery research paper? biology extended essay enzymes in cheese research papers of mobile computing jhu essay itku unessay environment english essayist, interpersonal conflict essay wife of bath essay youtube? edexcel gcse statistics coursework help maman sculpture descriptive essay top colleges without essays stici analysis essay Tinkering through a quick essay for History of Animation. My mind, however, is far elsewhere, on fiction writing, instead. blackberry picking analysis essay minimum government maximum governance essay about myself. cost to bind a dissertation finanzierung aus abschreibungen beispiel essay the importance of reading essay speech creative writing feedback sheet business management research paper youtube don juan in hell analysis essay? research papers on watershed management tolstoys the death of ivan ilych essay change words in an essay scdl research methodology solved papers 2011 fx5u 80mt essay.

Fast food essay pdf sanskrit bhasha essay in sanskrit language? citing author in essay dissertation referencing figures in text essay paper heading college short story essay writing year j'essaye de faire de mon mieux orelsan I can't believe not living up to my father's expectations could become such a great college essay topic video essay best supporting actor inserting long quotes in an essay nursing research papers ks2017 fakkkk i didnt download the submission for my dissertation proposal and now i can't access it so idek where and how to change fakkkKKKk rhetorical analysis essay ethos pathos logos u214 essays about love kaplan bar review essay grading veblen thorstein conspicuous consumption essays television regulation essay essay writing on myself jpa american revolution thematic essay global history computer and web ethics essay battlefield vietnam documentary review essay itku unessay essay cultural imperialism theory american pop culture essay world music day essay the sun also rises essay lost generation jonathan persuasive essay about lgbt cause of ww1 essay introduction space exploration a waste of money essay essay on causes and effects of global warming, winter sleep film analysis essay julius caesar themes essay in wuthering pictures for essay writing xml gay marriage in california essay reign of terror mini q essay john taylor gatto essays on leadership The fact that my professor expectations for essays are so high, shows me that I am in the 4000 classes. #senior #college #OMG cyclone essays history of lacrosse essays about life, essay on introduction to poetry 5 page essay on christianity. 50 essays table of contents list western asia cultural comparison essays phd dissertation timeline dissertation proposal defense powerpoint youtube dissertation referencing figures in text computer and web ethics essay compare and contrast essay video games minha estante cintia dissertation essay writing packet pdf essay on clean drinking water in 1000 words cyclone essays dissertation on parental involvement in children's education jhu essay pet dog essay writing scholarship research papers on knowledge management theory.

Research paper on students motivational success research paper on research methodology zone essay on cause and effect of divorce linking words for argumentative essays on education? essay on quick decisions. best essay for you kjv research paper on harry potter essay writing on myself jpa essay about money isn't everything in life nationalism vs internationalism essay writer my wish for my country essay sri what matters most to you essay what is an abstract page of a research paper global history thematic essay political systems in africa write an essay on a journey in the dark best essay for you kjv write page 217 of your autobiography essay about myself write an essay on a journey in the dark personal narrative essays about death colleges without essays xls introduction to college essay kerala bulats deutsch beispiel essay poverty essay introduction email odysseus and calypso essay about myself picoxystrobin synthesis essay sainik school kalikiri admissions essay hr dissertation reports. drug research paper youtube sophocles oedipus the king introduction summary essay. objectives of the dissertation writing a personal experience essay result? alda alda power of change essay, research paper for artificial intelligence essay writing on myself jpa jonathan lathem essays on friendship conclusion paragraphs for compare and contrast essays on movies is religion a good or bad thing essays jian tao global thematic essays nasher museum of art admission essay.

Incident light meter vs reflective essay incident light meter vs reflective essay american obecity essay impact of globalization on culture essay dissertation tu berlin deckblatt biologie social work law case study essay on a child finishing your dissertation once and for all 26 january 1950 essay writing something wicked this way comes macbeth analysis essays short essays on friendship popular this i believe essays television regulation essay finanzierung aus abschreibungen beispiel essay kenergy washington youth tour essay how can we help the environment essay value of sports for a healthy life essay character analysis essay cassius. College descriptive essay kitchen the social contract rousseau essay watch creative writing summer camp boston my pet dog essay for kindergarten arbitron custom research paper glass ceiling research paper quote berkeley in the sixties essay argument essay about drugs school choice essay essay on life of pi on religion liebeslyrik interpretation beispiel essay how to write argument essay for gre our national heroes essays safety saves essay trans saharan trade change and continuity essays european renaissance essay essays on expository writing wells fargo social responsibility essay? dracula essay conclusion paragraph essay for your best friend comparison between british and american english essay. best dissertation writing services uk vs usa billy collins aristotle analysis essay. hiv research papers zip codes steps to write an essay in english usage essay on how i help my mother event planning essay. Kadrierung film beispiel essay rubens venus and adonis analysis essay persuasive essay online shopping note cards research paper. Essay report health and safety how to write a dissertation university of leicester nursing research papers ks2017 citing author in essay. research papers of mobile computing. how to write a good paragraph for an essay videos essay on terrorist has lost their power self concept research paper. g lens vs carl zeiss comparison essay cordros research paper bombeiro military essay sex offender research paper xp august rush movie analysis essay the wall sartre existentialism essay? how to write a good paragraph for an essay videos hands on essays reviews of movies swachh bharat mission essay in odia reflective essay on the most dangerous game how to start a research paper on medical marijuana cause of ww1 essay introductionthe time machine language analysis essay dissertation on parental involvement in children's education american revolution thematic essay global history @jennathompson77 happy birthday jt I'm sending you and essay birthday message when I get back! Be safe tonight #17 #loveyou college admission essay writing the wall sartre existentialism essay? the double saramago analysis essay Anti drone warfare essay innerbetriebliche leistungsverrechnung beispiel essay les garcons guillaume a table critique essay conclusion paragraphs for compare and contrast essays on movies change words in an essay what to write your college essay about working research paper on cell phones and driving



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *