We are pleased to have archived the work of contributing authors to the Media Literacy Review on the Jesuit Communication Project web site. The Media Literacy Review is a former service of the University of Oregon's Center For Advanced Technology's Media Literacy Online Project.
Access in A Digital Age. By Dr. Kathleen Tyner. Access to media is not at all powerful if audiences cannot make sense of the information they receive. As the world moves from analog to digital, it becomes increasingly apparent that access to information -- and to the channels that control its flow -- is only the first plateau of human communication.
The Acquisition of Media Literacy Skills Among Australian Adolescents. By Renee Hobbs. This study measures the skills of 333 15-year-old students enrolled in secondary schools in Melbourne, Australia to determine the differences between students who have had formal exposure to media education classes and those whose exposure has been less systematic. The research finds significant differences between groups in terms of students' ability to analyze media messages.
All the News That's Fit for Kids Helping children become "news-smart". By Gloria DeGaetano.News and news-related programs make up a bigger part of the TV landscape than ever before. For parents, this is literally a good news-bad news situation. On one hand, cable television offers an enormous diversity of current-events programs to helps us all be informed, responsible citizens. On the other hand, it is more important than ever to know what kind of news programming is appropriate for your children
The Appalshop School Initiative: A Report on An Experiment in Classroom Research. By Dr. Kathleen Tyner. AppalShop is a media arts center nestled in the Appalachian hills of the Eastern Kentucky coal fields in the Lecher County seat of Whitesburg, population 1,200. Originally created to counter the kind of Tobacco Road stereotypes seen in countless media renditions of "hillbillies" from Appalachia, AppalShop creates, preserves, documents and presents Appalachian art and culture from the perspective of its residents
Brief History of Media Education. By Bill Walsh. The author divides the history of media education into four distinct historical periods.
Buttons, Posters Are Media, Too. By Bill Walsh. Posters, buttons, and bumperstickers DO communicate -- often more succinctly and memorably than paragraphs upon paragraphs of writing
The Camcorder Revolution. By Bill Walsh. The camcorder revolution is a revolution in theory, not in fact so far. It has not yet had any appreciable impact on our society at large or on our personal lives. This is unfortunate, and it is true for a number of different reasons.
Can Music Kill? By Bill Walsh. Richard Kuntz is dead. The 15-year-old shot himself last December, but in testimony before a Senate subcommittee last week, his father said that rock music killed him. And the old debate continues.
Can Your Students Read TV. By Dr. Kathleen Tyner. Plato disliked the printed word. He was afraid that reading and writing would destroy oral culture and memory. It wasn't until at least two centuries after the invention of the printing press that ordinary people began to make sense of the printed page. This awareness of print caused tremendous social, economic and cultural upheaval. We are currently in a similar communication revolution so far - reaching that we have yet to fully understand its significance. We still read books, but information bombards us from films, television, radio and advertising, too.
CBS and Electronic Fakery. By Bill Walsh. Article explores the use of inserted electronic images into background scenes altering the actual landscape.
Cleaning Up After OJ. By Bill Walsh. A summary of the aftermath of the circus-like trial of O.J. Simpson.
Computer Scoring of Essays a Bad Idea. By Bill Walsh. I actually felt a chill run down my spine when I saw the headline on the front page of the education newspaper I was reading: "Pennsylvania tests essay-grading software." The subhead was even scarier: "Officials mull using artificial-intelligence system to score state exams."
Corporations Buying and Selling Captain Kangaroo. By Bill Walsh. In the 1990's we would like to believe that the idea of people being "owned" by others is an outdated idea, a despicable practice ended by the Emancipation Proclamation over a hundred and thirty years ago. In the legal jungle of media copyrights and trademarks, however, this is not the case.
The Creation of Christmas Spirit. By Bill Walsh. What we often take for the spirit of the season is a construction of a reality that may not exist.
Deciding What to Believe in an Age of Information Abundance: Exploring Nonfiction Television in Education. By Renee Hobbs .This paper explores the crucial but largely unconscious decisions that we make each day as we decide which information is believable and truthful. By looking carefully at the ways in which some television messages can be made to seem authentic and credible, the author provides specific strategies for how teachers can improve students' critical viewing skills through dynamic, interactive learning activities that invite students to ask,"How do I decide what to believe?" Source: Sacred Heart Review, 42: 4-26.
The Demise of Album Covers. By Bill Walsh. For a while, there was a true "marriage" of two very distinct and different media -- art and music. In their heyday, LP covers were an outlet for experimentation, art, fun, social comment, and the power of the visual image to sell you the music that was contained therein.
Democracy At Risk: Building Citizenship Skills through media Education. By Renee Hobbs. What kinds of knowledge, attitudes and skills are essential for being a citizen in a media age? How do we create opportunities for young people to develop their interests in democracy? What role can the media, teachers and parents play?
Demonizing Media Not the Answer. By Bill Walsh. For too many - and for too long - "media literacy" or "media studies" has simply meant bashing the media, as this article did. Exposing lies in advertising, lack of objectivity in news, or profit-driven media corporations is often the only agenda of those who pretend to educate about the media but who in reality want to tear it down or discredit it. And this sets up a "bunker mentality."
Dr. Laura and Media Realities. By Bill Walsh. It's fun to watch the media all of the time, but it's especially rewarding to be watching when the little dog pulls away the curtain and we get a glimpse inside and actually see important media decisions being made. And these days, Dr. Laura is giving us the chance to see how programming and sponsorship decisions are influenced.
Diving the Ads. By Bill Walsh. Well, there's one thing to be said for media advertising - it never gets boring. There's a company in California that has come up with a new advertising medium that has elicited an overwhelming response, both positive and negative. It's either revolutionary or revolting, depending upon whom you listen to.
Effective Communication: A Label-less Program. By Dr. Kathleen Tyner. Patricia Lawrie is on a mission. A speech communications specialist in the Chaffey School District in Southern California, she designed a program which expands her role beyond working with a few "special" students to one which stresses effective communication in a cooperative, mainstreamed environment for all students. The key to the programs success has been innovative use of video as a communication medium.
The End of the Innocence? By Bill Walsh. After a while, a trend develops. And then it isn't so much every single transgression of ethics that's a concern as much as a whole pattern of behavior that's disconcerting. The recent CNN/Time scandal where Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Peter Arnett erroneously reported that American troops used nerve gas in the Vietnam War against defectors is but the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
Enough Jackasses to Go Around. By Bill Walsh. At last report, 13-year-old Jason Lind was lying in a hospital bed in Boston, suffering from second and third degree burns after copying a stunt he saw on MTV's popular "Jackass" TV show. The show featured a guy wearing a flame-retardant suit and hanging steaks on himself as friends cooked him on a human-sized barbecue. On the show, they sped the steak-cooking along by squirting lighter fluid on the human spit.
A Plea for Expanded Media Literacy. By Bill Walsh. In the media education world, there are two schools of thought about "teaching the media." One suggests that there should be a separate course of study in media and media literacy. Certain localities, states and even foreign countries have established distinct media literacy courses - and sometimes make them requirements for graduation.
Expanding The Concept Of Literacy. By Renee Hobbs. Most teachers make use of media for motivation, illustration and enrichment, a use of media which emphasizes its value as an attractive delivery system. Only a few now use media artifacts as study objects. Why?
Expanding Media Literacy. By Bill Walsh. In the media education world, there are two schools of thought about "teaching the media." One suggests that there should be a separate course of study in media and media literacy. Certain localities, states and even foreign countries have established distinct media literacy courses - and sometimes make them requirements for graduation. The other view is that media literacy - like text literacy - is a part and parcel of every subject in every department and in every course.
On Faking Photographs. By Bill Walsh. Faking photographs to impress somebody is also what the University of Wisconsin tried to do last week, except they got caught at it. Attempts to deceive take on a more serious tone when they're tried by a major university on the cover of their undergraduate application pamphlet.
Getting the Story First . . . Maybe Right. By Bill Walsh. I did not, of course, witness the actual bomb blast at the Olympic Park last Friday night, but I WAS up watching TV at that time and DID manage to catch the live TV coverage of that awful event. And for those of us who watch the media work, it was fascinating.
Great American Smokeout: Me, the Media, and Addiction. By Bill Walsh. Thursday is The Great American Smokeout, and like millions of other addicts, I'm going to try to stop smoking for at least 24 hours. It's tough and I wish I'd never begun. It would be easy to blame the tobacco companies and their advertising, but it's much more subtle than that. The media in general - ALL media - is a real coconspirator in getting me hooked. I was just dumb enough to fall for it.
Growing Up with TV. By Bill Walsh Perhaps one of the reasons that it is so hard to discuss, analyze, or write about the influence of television is that it's so pervasive, so much a part of our lives -- both past and present. Our TV memories parallel our actual life in so many ways and at so many times that often our memories are framed by TV itself. It has become in a very real sense, a part of us.
Guide: Print and Video Resources for Teaching About Media in the K-12 Classroom. By Dr. Kathleen Tyner. Tyner has compiled an extensive list of resources for educators including online articles and informational sites.
Hard Lessons To Learn. By Bill Walsh Explores the commercialization of media and that media must sell in order to remain on the air.
Hard To Believe. By Bill Walsh You're not going to believe this story. I'm warning you. But it's true. Every word of it. No foolin'. It centers around Bob Grant, who sounds like not a very nice man.
Home Sick with TV. By Bill Walsh Remember when you were a little kid and got to stay home sick from school? I do. In the Walsh house, it usually meant settling in on the couch in the living room with a pillow and a blanket, warm ginger ale and a whole day's worth of daytime TV.
Huck Finn and the Power of Words. By Bill Walsh It's pretty rare these days when the printed word incites controversy. We're so concerned about the modern media of TV and film and Internet and rap music that a bad word in a book hardly seems to bother us anymore - unless, of course, that book is The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and the word is "nigger."
I'm a Computer Game Addict! By Bill Walsh Personal observations about becoming addicted to computer game.
Implementation: The Next Step. By Dr. Kathleen Tyner. The minimum steps toward implementing media education discussed here grow out of Canada's hard-won experiences and can be applied to media literacy implementation in the United States. The goals, objectives and pedagogical issues which are the underpinnings of media education come from work done in Europe and Australia. Finally, some of the thinking about implementing media literacy across the curriculum has a peculiar U.S. spin. We can implement media literacy by using American fascination with technology to its best advantage in the current climate of reform.
Influencing Our Attitudes and Perceptions. By Bill Walsh If we needed reminding that TV is not "real," there's another study out, this one from the Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Not surprisingly, they found a rather unrealistic treatment of this important medical procedure
Instructional Practices In Media Literacy And Their Impact On Students' Learning. By Renee Hobbs. This study reports the findings of qualitative and quantitative research designed to assess the impact of different types of instructional practices involving media literacy education across the curriculum.
Jerry Rubin and the Media. By Bill Walsh A review of the life of Jerry Rubin and his use of the media to present a cause.
Joe Camel. By Bill Walsh Most advertisers are moral people, and their advertising is simply a way to publicize their product or service. But when a company advertises poison to young children, we need to draw the line.
Journalistic Ethics and Other Oxymorons. By Bill Walsh We so often see the evidence of media intrusiveness, media insensitivity and media sensationalization, that it's easy to believe that the media has no soul, no compassion, no humanity.
Keep Your Ear-Lids Open.By Gary Ferrington. Being able to perceive visual and aural stimuli are natural capabilities most humans have at birth. However, the ability to derive meaning from these stimuli is a learned process beginning with infancy and continuing throughout one's lifetime. Source: World Forum for Acoustic Ecology.
Kids, Imagination, and Audio In The Classroom. By Gary Ferrington. Audio is a participatory medium which actively engages the child in the on-going processing of aural information. This requires that the he or she be able to discriminate between audio stimuli, employ aural decoding skills, and generate meaning for a perceived message. Source: World Forum for Acoustic Ecology.
Kids, Noise, and Orchestrating the Soundscape By Gary Ferrington. The study of the soundscape encourages students to explore both natural and human made acoustical environments. Principle learning goals include: understanding how sound affects our lives, determining what sounds have come to dominate, recede, or become lost in the sonosphere, and how people can individually or collectively work toward orchestrating the soundscape to enrich life. Source:World Forum for Acoustic Ecology.
Kid's Radio Is On The Air! By Gary Ferrington. Radio is a participatory medium which actively engages the child in the ongoing processing of aural information. This requires that the child be able to discriminate between audio stimuli, employ aural decoding skills, and generate meaning for a perceived message. Given that there are no other channels of information except sound, there is the potential risk of ambiguity. But it is this ambiguity which also makes it a particularly effective medium to stimulate the imagination. Source: World Forum for Acoustic Ecology.
Listening to radio plays: fictional soundscapes. By Alan Beck.The radio drama audience is required to make an active commitment, an 'aural contract' with the play, interpreting the narrative and dialogue in accordance with the codes and conventions of a long BBC tradition. In return, the listener gains pleasure and a focus of desire on the narrative and characters, and often an identification with the protagonist. Source: World Forum for Acoustic Ecology.
Literacy For The Information Age. By Renee Hobbs. Our students are growing up in a world saturated with media messages, messages that fill the bulk of their leisure time and provide them with information about who to vote for and what buying decisions to make. Yet students receive little to no training in the skills of analyzing or evaluating these messages, many of which make use of language, moving images, music, sound effects, special visual effects and other techniques which powerfully affect our emotional responses.
Live Long And Prosper: Media Literacy in the USA. By John Pungente, S.J. Provides a comprehensive overview of media literacy organizations and leaders in the United States.
Local TV Coverage Crossed the Lines of Decency. By Bill Walsh I know that our moral choices are often varying shades of gray -- that is very little in this world nowadays that's clearly black-and-white, right or wrong. But there ARE some things that are clearly wrong.
Lou Grant On Media Literacy. By Bill Walsh There are some things one medium does better than the others. We often use more than one form to get a clearer picture.
Media Can Show Us Ourselves. By Bill Walsh Each of us takes our own individual meaning from the media - from films, records, plays, TV. Some pieces nearly speak to us directly, and we cherish them not only as works of art, but also because of what and how they speak to us.
Make Cookies, Not War: TV-related toys and the "I want that" syndrome. By Gloria DeGaetano. Parents can help kids spot merchandising "tricks," steer children to toys based on educational or pro-social TV shows, and direct creative play away from Madison Avenue imitation. Here are a few simple strategies to help guide little ones from mindless consumerism to mindful ways to think for themselves..
Mass Media and Cultural Literacy. By Bill Walsh Increasingly, media literacy is tied to cultural literacy. One simply cannot be a literate and aware citizen of our culture without knowledge of the mass media
Measuring Global Trends with Mom. By Bill Walsh I have a confession to make. Sometimes, as I try to figure out global trends in technology and media, I look very close to home. As a matter of fact, I sometimes I look at my mother.
The Media Education Elephant. By Dr. Kathleen Tyner. Media educators in the United States are a fractious bunch. One teacher's definition of media education is an other's heresy. Like the blind men and the elephant, teachers often practice one small aspect of media education and conclude that they have the whole picture.
Media Literacy In Massachusetts. By Renee Hobbs. This article describes one example of a district-wide model for helping teachers develop expertise in media literacy, a model which invites a cohort of educators from a single district to participate in a coordinated, long-term plan of study, research, design and and implementation of media literacy curriculum in grades K -12.
Media Violence: Confronting the Issues and Taking Action. By Gloria DeGaetano. If we know that there is an indelible link between media violence and becoming more violent, then we, as responsible adults, must confront this sad issue and take action. Action in whatever way seems most appropriate. But ACTION, nevertheless.
Media Violence and Shades of Gray. By Bill Walsh I was sent a Perry Ellis ad from the New York Times Magazine recently. It features a woman in an overcoat sitting on the floor of a tiled bathroom. She's got this vacant, drugged-out stare. From the top of the frame, a male hand is roughly tugging at the belt of her coat. Other ads in fashion or lifestyle magazines leave less to the imagination. These things trouble me.
Memo On PBS. By Bill Walsh PBS says that they're concerned with only quality, not ratings. So how come it's only during pledge time when their stations pull out Rolling Stones shows or Eric Clapton retrospectives?
Misusing Computer Technology. By Bill Walsh "Just because I own and see the usefulness of a computer doesn't mean that I think computers can do everything. The misuse of media technology is perhaps as big and as real a danger as is its under-utilization."
Modest Proposal for V-Chip Expansion. By Bill Walsh. Common sense and good judgment are valuable and rare commodities these days. That's why we need to economize their use. The new "V-chip" does just that.
More Media Savvy Than She Thinks. By Bill Walsh I've got a pet theory (I've got a couple of them, actually, but only one is worth sharing with you here). People are smarter than they think they are; they're also more creative than they think they are. And in the area of video production, they know more than they think they do. Luckily for me, my theory was proven correct just last week.
To Morph Or Not To Morph. By John Pungente, S.J. In early November, the Ontario Branch of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) declared that Mighty Morphin Power Rangers - a television show aimed at 9 to 12 years olds - was too violent for Canadian television. This article explores the decision making processes involved in that the CBSC declaration.
Napster & "Free" Music. By Bill Walsh Mondays federal appeal court decision against Napster has thrown the already tumultuous marriage of music and computers into even more turmoil. It is, everyone acknowledges, truly a landmark decision.
Natural Born Product. By Bill Walsh Should a director be held legally responsible for the actions of people who see his films?It's not as ridiculous as it sounds. The courts are already about to decide this crucial question.
New Eyes and Ears Through Media Literacy. By Bill Walsh The more we learn about the media, the more that knowledge changes our perceptions; changes how we look at an ad or read a newspaper, changes how we listen to music or watch TV ourselves. Anyone who's ever acted as a director - even on a three-camera, local access TV show; begins to watch TV paying attention to how professional directors work.
New Findings Unveiled. By Bill Walsh In a dramatic and startling announcement from his home in Billerica, Massachusetts yesterday, writer, teacher, and media know-it-all Bill Walsh announced his conclusion that watching TV actually INCREASES a person's intelligence.
News That Isn't. By Bill Walsh Media has the power to show us things we've never seen before, bring us to places we've never been before, and reveal to us things which we did not know before. That's one of media's strengths.
News people Say the Stupidest Things! By Bill Walsh On the morning announcements at school the other day, one of the reporters said something stupid. I'm not going to make fun of him - it just got me to thinking about stupid stuff you see and hear on TV.
One Less Voice in the Night. By Bill Walsh The company of radio late at night is recalled with the death of a Boston radio tradition.
Paula Jones and Penthouse. By Bill Walsh Last week it was announced that Paula Jones will be featured in an upcoming Penthouse magazine photo layout, a little tidbit I found particularly interesting. Ms. Jones, you may recall, once vowed "never, never, never" to pose naked. She's apparently changed her mind (financial arrangements have not been disclosed), because it's reported that the Penthouse feature will feature Paula "naked inside and next to a swimming pool." The pictures were taken (ironically enough) in California during the Democratic National Convention.
Phone Call on Rock Hall of Fame. By Bill Walsh "Hello? Office of Cultural Affairs, Enforcement Division, Good Taste desk? I'd like to report a crime. The victim? Well, I guess good taste is the victim. Truth. Justice. The American Way - all of that stuff. The perpetrator? The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Yeah - they're the Grammy people, but this isn't about the Grammies. You must get a lot of calls about those. This is about something much more lasting."
Politicians Promise Us Everything. By Bill Walsh The battle between style and substance in political campaigns ended long ago, with style emerging as the clear winner. Some point back to the Kennedy-Nixon debates of 1960 as the crucial turning point. Those who watched the debates on television thought that Kennedy had won. Those who listened on radio (and were therefore deprived of visual images) thought Nixon won.
The Pope in a New Comic Book. By Bill Walsh There's a new Caped Crusader in the comic book business these days. It's Pope John Paul II.
Princess Di and the Media. By Bill Walsh The media has compounded the death of this very nice lady with its own special brand of hyperbole and hypocrisy for an entire week.
Programming the Deadly Sins. By Bill Walsh The television industry is not noted for its honesty, so I (for one) applaud the newest trend in TV programming in which shows are pretty frank about what they're offering. First came "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" on ABC, appealing in a not-too-subtle way to the audience's avarice. Then came the Fox program honestly-titled simply "Greed." Truth in programming, finally.
Put Me on TV. By Bill Walsh There are a great many things I don't understand generally. Rising to the top of that fairly lengthy list this week is why aiming a video camera at some people seems to cut their IQ or maturity level in half. I just don't get it.
Reading is NOT Dead. By Bill Walsh I met Harry Potter last weekend, and I've got to tell you that it was a pretty positive experience. Suddenly I'm a little more optimistic about books, reading, and young people in general.
Reading TV: Simple techniques parents can use to make TV time with kids almost as beneficial as story time. By Gloria DeGaetano. The benefits of reading to children are well established, but did you know that with a little guidance, children can get similar benefits from watching television? That may seem like a lot to ask from TV viewing, but when children are stimulated to think, as opposed to watching passively, their minds are very busy.
Reading TV Guide. By Bill Walsh I've just read TV Guide. Yes, READ it. All of it. All 212 pages. All 7,997 program listings. And you learn some interesting things when you do that.
Remembering Kent State. By Bill Walsh While some readers are (no doubt) too young to remember, and others may have blocked it from their memories, it remains for some of us a very important and unforgettable date. Today is the 30th anniversary of the Kent State shootings, and attention must be paid.
Rock and Roll Is Not Meant for Me. By Bill Walsh I don't like a lot of the popular rock and roll music that's out these days. Much of it I cannot understand. Some of it I find offensive. I can't understand the words to a lot of the songs. It's often played too loud. And the artists look and act like very unsavory characters. Which is, of course, exactly how it should be.
Scanning Television: A Review of a Media Education Resource. By Dr. Kathleen Tyner. This is one of those classroom resources that forces me to reexamine my bias against educational "kits". With a few exceptions, I look at kits as a gross violation of resource-based education principles. While it is nice for beginning teachers to have some materials to "work" in the classroom, most kits, put together by those far away from the classroom, are quickly outdated and, worst of all, violate constructivist principles that beg for more local context, authentic approaches, and inquiry-based strategies. In fact, most of the kits I review are not much different in concept from the textbooks they purport to replace. Scanning Television is a big exception.
Season Finales and Cliffhangers. By Bill Walsh "Finale" is supposed to be some grand or super-exciting ending to a work. For those of us who endured the "season finale" of Seinfeld last week, it's distressing to learn that it was only the beginning. Twenty-seven programs listed in this week's TV GUIDE are described as "season finales" and five advertised as "cliffhangers.".
The Second Spring: Media Literacy in Canada's Schools By John Pungente, S.J."Media literacy in secondary schools has begun to develop in the western Canadian provinces. There is also some interest being shown in the subject in the Atlantic provinces. Quebec has its own stand on Media literacy. In Ontario - where more than one third of all Canadians live - Media literacy is very much alive. The Ontario government has mandated the teaching of media within the English curriculum for grades seven through twelve. There are a number of resources available for teachers and the Association for Media Literacy provides information, workshops, summer schools, a newsletter, and in-service training in media."
Selling Ads. By Bill Walsh Part of my extensive media experience includes a stint as advertising director for a weekly newspaper here in Massachusetts. Before you're unduly impressed by the title, let me tell you about it.
The Seven Great Debates In Media Literacy. By Renee Hobbs. As the media literacy movement gains momentum in the United States, our increasingly diverse community of educators, community organizers and activists, scholars, social service and media professionals have a lot of issues to debate, because media literacy can take many different forms.
The Simpsons Meet Mark Twain: Analyzing Popular Media Texts in the Classroom. By Renee Hobbs. There's a number of reasons why the Standards for the English Language Arts has adopted the term"nonprint texts" to describe messages that are not traditional classroom resources in the K-12 classroom. "Nonprint texts" is an umbrella that includes everything, from photographs to web sites, from films to popular music, but it also covers and avoids mention of the fact that many of these works are-- dare we say it? -- popular.
A Solution for "Road Rage". By Bill Walsh Stories in the media about road rage are all the fashion these days. In fact, it's become a very hot topic in both TV reports and newspapers during this heavy-travel summer season.
The Sounds of Silence" or"Hello, Darkness, My Old Friend. By Bill Walsh I was less surprised by the advertising on the phone than I was by the fact that there was ANY kind of recorded message on the line while I was waiting. I was frankly a little disappointed to discover that my friendly neighborhood car repair place had joined the twentieth century.
Stereotypes of Teachers In The Media. By Bill Walsh We had been talking about stereotypes on TV and how various groups are represented: Blacks, women, minorities. I started thinking about TV's depiction of teachers.
Stereotyping the Post Office in the Media. By Bill Walsh At an important (but generally ignored) press conference recently, the United States Postal Service unveiled a report which tries to prove that the term "going postal" is incorrect. The 249-page, two year study was funded by the postal service, but conducted "independently" by the US Postal Service Commission on a Safe and Secure Workplace. That's what they say.
Sticker Shock. By Bill Walsh I just got one of those record club things in the mail, and instead of being excited by the possibilities, I'm either bored or confused by the selections. It's a sign of rapidly approaching old age, I'm sure.
Superbowl of Commercials. By Bill Walsh. I am an advertiser's dream as I settle down in front of my TV set at 6:00 PM Superbowl night to watch the big event. I couldn't care less who wins the football game. I am here to watch the commercials. And I realize that they've finally done it. They've made the ads at least as interesting as the game itself -- so interesting that the commercials are drawing their own audience.
Superbowl '99: Excess and Entertainment. By Bill Walsh. "... the Superbowl has, indeed, become nearly a symbol of America - a symbol of American consumerism, arguably the pinnacle of American sports, the most-watched (and most pretentious and most expensive) TV coverage of a single event in our American culture. And it is also so much more - both good and bad.
Superbowl XXXV and America. By Bill Walsh. I'm not a TV reviewer by occupation, but Superbowls have taken on such a life of their own and such monumental importance in our culture that I figured I just HAD to watch Superbowl XXXV last Sunday and then try to make some media sense of it.
Taking Back The Citadel: Managing Nintendo Use at Home. By Dr. Kathleen Tyner. Some basic tips for parents who fear that their children will be sucked off into the Nintendo universe never to return in human form. Source: Media Literacy Review a service of the Media Literacy Online Project
Talent, Character, and Class. By Bill Walsh. In a media world where mediocrity often passes for talent, where special effects are often used to disguise a lack of skill, and where the most important character trait seems to be the ability to call attention to yourself, the Billerica High Musical remains not only a training ground for young talent, but also for the development of character.
Talk Radio and Citizen Participation. By Bill Walsh. When we talk about active citizen participation in the media -- true two-way interaction -- a free and open exchange of ideas -- we may think of talk radio.
Take Your Pick. By Bill Walsh. It seems that police cruisers in St. Clair County, Illinois have became "moving billboards"
Television Changes Us. By Bill Walsh. I'm not one of those people who allege that TV is evil. But that is not to say I'm blind to some of television's rather obvious and glaring faults. And perhaps one of the most serious is that television changes us, not so much our behavior - that question is still under discussion - but our expectations, the way we see the world around us and even ourselves
"Testing . . . Testing". By Bill Walsh. The big story in the local media these days is testing "the testing" of Massachusetts students with the MCAS tests and the testing of Massachusetts teachers on a new certification exam.
There's No Such Thing as Free Chowda. By Bill Walsh. Who would ever think that handing out free stuff could start a controversy? Well, soon commuters in Boston will be handed a coupon for a free bowl of chowder at Legal Sea Foods as they pay their tolls in the tunnel.
This Much Madness....By Bill Walsh. It's not often that we have a mass suicide, local town elections, and April Fool's Day so close together. In the event that this odd coincidence harbingers the Apocalypse, I think that it might be time to reveal the existence of ANOTHER cult - mine. It's called the Society To Observe Obviously Puzzling Irritating Dolts (STOOPID), and I'm its temporary leader. Until we can get Clarabell out of retirement.
Toilet TV. By Bill Walsh. From a media watcher in Canada comes news which is both amusing and sobering, According to AdNews Online Daily, a company called NewAd Media has already installed new videoboards in public bathrooms in Toronto. From what I can gather, the video screens are mounted above the urinals in men's rooms and inside the toilet stalls in ladies' rooms. An infrared sensor turns the board on when someone stands in front of it (for the men) or when one sits on the toilet (for the women). The boards display "45 second full-motion broadcast quality video clips with sound," it is reported, and although the news item I saw didn't mention it specifically, you can bet that what the videoboards are showing is advertising
Trademark Battles. By Bill Walsh. Bobby's mother was busy with the white-out, trying to fix a mistake on the manuscript before she xeroxed it. Meanwhile, Bobby had finished crying, threw away his soggy kleenex, checked the new band-aid on his knee, and ran back outside to continue rollerblading with his pals. Welcome to the wonderful world of trademarks.
TV Is Fun. By Bill Walsh. Amid all the critical viewing talk and media literacy analysis and trying to get you involved in making your own media messages, that simple fact has gone un-stated for far too long. Watching TV is fun.
TV Poet: Charles Kuralt. By Bill Walsh. Kuralt's "job" for 28 years was to drive the back roads of America in a CBS camper and report to us what he found there.
TV Turn Off Week. By Bill Walsh. Is the focus of TV Turnoff Week rid ourselves of some sort of evil influence or a "TV fast," to find one's own nature.
Two New Sites on the World Wide Web. By Bill Walsh. "As it gets easier and easier to develop Web sites (it's now so easy, even an English teacher can do it!), we're going to see more and more organizations and individuals turn to the Internet to get their message across."
Uncivil Wars. By Bill Walsh. Media DOES change people and the way we think and act...and sometimes the changes are discouraging to see
The Uses (And Misuses) of Mass Media Resources In Secondary Schools. By Renee Hobbs. A survey of 130 teachers determined their existing uses of mass media materials in the classroom, including newspapers, magazines, videotapes, computers and video camcorders. Teachers were asked to define the phrase, "media literacy," and were asked to assess the frequency of their colleagues using media for non-educational purposes, including to fill time, to keep students quiet, or as a reward for good behavior.
Visual Media and Young Children's Attention Spans. By Gloria DeGaetano. In countless homes and classrooms we see children: with more impulsive behaviors, less willing and able to persevere through challenging mental tasks, hyperactive, reactive, with little or no impulse control. Research confirms that children who watch TV or play video games for more than two hours daily will most likely exhibit one or more of these characteristics.
Vulgarity Bites. By Bill Walsh. One thing that can be said about the popular media -- ALL of the popular media: newspapers, magazines, music, TV -- is that they serve as a barometer of the changes we go through as a society. Changes in thought, philosophy, behavior and even language are seen first in the media, and the media's use of certain images, ideas and even phrases seems to OK their use in our society.
Wearing The Ads. By Bill Walsh. Those of us who are "over the hill" can remember a time when the purpose of clothes was to clothe, not to communicate a media message.
What Makes a Celebrity. By Bill Walsh. This is more than merely an academic question. Forbes magazine has just released its list of the top 100 celebrities in the world today, and its an interesting and intriguing list for anyone interested in the media and its effect on our society.
What Parents Can Do. An eleven point list of things parents can do to make more effective use of TV in the home.
What's The Frequency, Connie? By Bill Walsh. The firing of Connie Chung raises some interesting questions about our tastes in news (and newscasters) and the role of women inthe media.
Why Don't Kids Know the News? By Bill Walsh. At times I'm alternately discouraged and/or appalled when I realize how little news some of my students get. From time to time, after reading an interesting piece in the newspaper or seeing something on TV that I'd like to discuss with them, I ask in class the next day, "Did anyone see the story in the Globe (or Herald or Sun or whatever) about such-and-such?" Or "Who saw `60 Minutes' last night?" It's not that there are so few positive responses; it's that there aren't ANY.
Why I'm Not Buying. By Bill Walsh. One of my students asked me if I'd purchased the new Beatles' CD yet. I guess he figured that, being a child of the 60's, I'd snap up ANY "new" Beatles material immediately. I told him that I hadn't and tried to explain why. But I'm still mulling it over in my mind.
Windows on the Landscape - Taking Television Seriously By John Pungente, S.J."Perhaps it is time to stop the television-bashing which is so very easy to do and see what we might have missed in joining the general rush to judgment. Too often we look to the past with nostalgia, to the future with hope, and to the present with gloom. There is nothing wrong with getting excited about shows like ER, The X-Files or Picket Fences. But there is a difference, as David Bianculli points out, " . . . between seeing a medium's potential and being its cheerleader, between admiring its finest achievements and embracing everything with equal enthusiasm."
Working With Basics. By Bill Walsh. At my high school, there are three levels of English classes -- Honors, College Prep, and "Basic" (We don't call it "basic" when anybody's listening, but that's what it is). Those of you who are teachers probably understand that the class can be a "dumping ground" for non-college kids, screw-ups, discipline problems, lazy kids, unmotivated kids and anyone else who slips through the cracks.
XFL - A TV Show About Sports. By Bill Walsh. I am not a sports reporter; nor am I a sports columnist. In fact, I'm probably not even a big sports fan - although I do watch some games on TV. But since the new XFL football league is more about television, sex, and violence than it is about sport, I figure I'm qualified to discuss it