Violence in the News — Middle School and High School
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
Ask students to define violence and give examples of violent acts.
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?
Show a local news show in class. Discuss violence that was in that show in terms of…
a. How did it affect the live of the people involved?
b. Were the consequences of the violence shown?
c. Were there parts of the violent action that were not shown?
Break the students into groups. Each group can watch a different station on the same night. They can then analyze the show. Find the percentage of news stories that were seen on that show.
Have the students report back to the class about the channel that they watched and make comparisons among the channels watched.
Discuss the idea of “family friendly” stations.
Write a paper giving your opinion of the use of stories and picture of violence on the news or in the newspaper.
Invite a local television or newspaper person into your classroom to explain how they pick stories to run. Ask what the guidelines for selection are.
Student writing will be evaluated on the following rubric.
1 — Minimal completion of the task, and/or content frequently inappropriate
2 — Partial completion of the task, content mostly appropriate, ideas are undeveloped
3 — Completion of the task, content appropriate, ideas adequately developed
4 — Superior completion of the task, content appropriate, ideas well developed and well-organized
1 — Text barely comprehensible
2 — Text mostly comprehensible, requiring interpretation on the part of the reader
3 — Text comprehensible, requiring minimal interpretation on the part of the reader
4 — Text readily comprehensible, requiring no interpretation on the part of the reader
Level of Discourse
1 — Attempted use of complete sentences, no or almost no cohesive devices
2 — Predominant use of complete yet repetitive sentences, no or almost no cohesive devices
3 — Emerging variety of complete sentences and some cohesive devices
4 — Variety of complete sentences and of cohesive devices
1 — Inadequate and/or inaccurate use of vocabulary
2 — Somewhat inadequate and/or inaccurate use of vocabulary
3 — Adequate and accurate use of vocabulary
4 — Rich use of vocabulary
1 — Inadequate and/or inaccurate use of basic language structures
2 — Emerging use of basic language structures
3 — Emerging control of basic language structures
4 — Control of basic language structures
1 — Inaccurate spelling, use of diacritical marks, punctuation and/or capitalization
2 — Somewhat inaccurate spelling, use of diacritical marks, punctuation and/or capitalization
3 — Mostly accurate spelling, use of diacritical marks, punctuation and/or capitalization
4 — Few or no errors in spelling, use of diacritical marks, punctuation and/or capitalization