Academic journal article Journalism History

The Killing Screens

Academic journal article Journalism History

The Killing Screens

Article excerpt

The Killing Screens. New York: Media Education Foundation, 1994. 0:40.

The producers framed these questions: Why do we have so much violence in the media? Do the media help make a more violent society or just reflect it? What can parents and teachers do to help? A task of this magnitude would seem-ingly foreshadow more questions than answers. But the video does provide helpful insights in several key areas, many of them historical.

The producers feature Dean Emeritus of the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. George Gerbner, who provides insight from his vast research in the TV violence area. While Gerbner is almost a legendary figure in the literature on media effects, he has not been seen on TV very often. Many viewers will have the opportunity to see and hear Gerbner for the first time.

The program provides a relatively concise review of the literature on media and violence and the producers happily instill a non-preachy, matter-of-fact tone. The video goes on to provide a concise explanation for why the media do as they do. The producers divide the video into seven parts, all of these with historical ties or implications: Stories of Power, Happy Violence, Accelerating Violence, Violence as Social Relationship, Lessons of Violence, and Citizenship in the Cultural Environment.

The final part of the video covers an often ignored aspect of the media-violence controversy: what parents and teachers can do to help. While this component has scant historical context, Gerbner brings context to the topic by outlining steps for parents such as avoidance of TV as a punishment or reward and participating in their children's TV viewing. …

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