Promoting media literacy education

Violence & Media

The Violence and Media curriculum unit was developed in collaboration with teachers in Seattle School District’s middle and high schools; it was also pilot tested in Seattle School District. This program made possible with support by the Governor’s Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee, Office of Juvenile Justice, Washington State Department of Social and Health Services was designed to engage students in both examining violence from a media literacy perspective and involving them in taking action to prevent violence in their own schools. Through both their qualitative and quantitative data, the research team of Lisosky, Cohen, and Sager found students who completed the program recognized that the media violence many had earlier discounted as having little or no meaning for their “real” lives was in fact having an impact on them. They also recognized that violence can take other forms besides physical violence and that other forms of violence can also have very serious consequences. As one student told us, expressing what many others had told us as well, “Lots of wounds from physical violence heal later, but words can hurt forever. “ In addition, the youth in this program became very involved in producing their own media campaigns to make other students aware of steps that could be taken in their schools to address violence prevention. Many of these campaigns proved quite impressive to teachers and parents as well as the broader community. In addition it should be noted that several of the students involved in the campaigns became strong advocates for violence prevention in their schools, speaking to teacher groups, student groups and community groups.


Among the publications about the Violence & Media curriculum unit are the following:

  • A four-year study of a media and violence curriculum in Seattle Public Schools. (2007) Paper presented at Research Summit, Alliance for a Media Literate America, St. Louis, June.

  • Part of the solution: Media and violence curriculum in Seattle Public Schools. (2002) Submitted to the Broadcast Education Association National Conference, April. Awarded 1st Place in the Research Division.

  • Violence and Media Curriculum Project in Seattle Public Schools (2001-2004). Reports submitted to Governor’s Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee.

For more information about the Violence & Media program, please contact Project Director, Marilyn Cohen (