Media Moments Western Reserve Public Media

Decision Makers


Violence in the News — Elementary

Is it possible for you to watch or read about violence on television or in newspaper and not be affected by it? Because mass media is a for-profit business, it is economically driven. Sensational or violent stories with graphic pictures often are prevalent because they generate watchers. Violence in the news is real. It is our responsibility to remain sensitive to the sufferings of other even though we may be bombarded by violence as entertainment as well as in the news.


Students will watch a news story on television or read an article in the newspaper and compute the percent of stories that tell about or show violence.

Students will write an opinion paper on the place of stories about violence in the news.



Television news show or newspaper



  1. Ask students to define violence and give examples of violent acts.

  2. Discuss whether the students have ever witnessed violent acts? (You may want to avoid this question if you feel it is too sensitive for the students with which you are working.) Discuss if violence ever happens in real-life? Is real-life violence scarier than violence in the movies?

  3. Ask the students to watch a news broadcast (either at school or at home) of look at the front section of the newspaper. They need to count the total number of stories in the paper or on the show and count the number of stories that deal with violence. If possible, students could write the names or the subject of the stories to keep a more accurate record.

  4. They can calculate the percentage of the news that deals with violence by dividing the number of violent stories by the total number of stories.

  5. Students can write a short paper about their opinion of the place of stories about violence in the news.




50 points for their percentage report. (Total number of stories divided into number of shows containing violence)

50 points for opinion paper (Can be judged on content, organization, grammar, spelling, etc.

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