From 2004 to 2009 the Center for Media Literacy’s curriculum, Beyond Blame: Challenging Violence in the Media underwent a rigorous evaluation study conducted by researchers at the Southern California Injury Prevention Research Center. The goal of study was to assess whether or not a comprehensive media literacy intervention could mitigate the negative effects of exposure to media violence and reduce the risk for aggression and violence among middle school children. The research was funded by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The largest implementation of Beyond Blame: Challenging Violence in the Media took place from 2007-2009 academic years: 20 middle schools from seven school districts in Los Angeles County took part in implementing the program as part of UCLA's evaluation study of the curriculum. More than 2000 students participated, with about 50 teachers and administrators involved in the program
Employing a quasi-experimental pre/post test research design, researchers assessed the effects of the curriculum on middle school students, comparing classrooms led by intervention and control teachers in schools predominantly serving minority students. The specific goals of the research were to (1) Test changes over time among study children in measures of beliefs and attitudes towards violence and the media, media knowledge, self-reported viewing behaviors, critical assessment of media messages, risk for violence, and conflict resolution skills. (2) Ascertain the impact of the intervention in terms of knowledge, attitudes, behaviors and beliefs at a six-month interval after the intervention. (3) Assess the effect of gender and ethnic differences on any short-term outcomes observed.
Results from the initial pilot study conducted during the 2005 academic year have been published: Webb, T., K. Martin, A. Afifi, J. Kraus, “Media Literacy as Violence Prevention: A Pilot Study Report,” Health Promotion Practice 2009; doi:117/1524839908328998. Findings from the impact study involving a much larger sample of students are under submission and will be forthcoming.
UPDATE: Beyond Blame research published in September issue of the Journal of Children and Media. Authors Theresa Webb & Kathryn Martin have published Evaluation of a US School-Based Media Literacy Violence Prevention Curriculum on Changes in Knowledge and Critical Thinking Among Adolescents. Find the article here.
In the years since CML introduced its original community education curriculum, Beyond Blame: Challenging Violence in the Media, a number of groups have piloted the program in a variety of educational settings.
Pilot Program in Kansas City Keeps Kids Coming Back
An innovative afterschool program in Kansas City, Kansas uses a peer counseling model. High school seniors and college students were trained by consultants from University of Missouri/Kansas City to conduct the eight sessions of the Beyond Blame Middle School curriculum with groups of younger students. The three afterschool sites included a Boys and Girls club, a Catholic parish and a youth center serving high-risk young people from foster care homes.
Georgia Team Builds Prevention on CML's Media Violence Kit
When Dekalb County, Georgia's Office of Prevention and Intervention began planning a media violence training, they decided CML's Beyond Blame: Challenging Violence in the Media filled their need just perfectly. The county-wide office – funded through the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act – selected a two-person team from each of the twelve county middle schools to participate in the ten hour workshop.
Hathaway Brown School discovered the power of media literacy. Read how this school put the CML Framework to use for its students. Published in eSchool News.
Learn more about Hathaway Brown's media literacy program in Tectonic cultural shifts require media literacy in schools recently published in Independent School magazine.