Covering Catastrophies: Media Effects on the Attitudes of Youths

Intercultural learning is an integral part of international youth work (cf. project "Intercultural Contacts of German-Polish Youth Exchanges"), that shapes basic attitudes toward tolerance and acceptance with strangers. In view of the American events of Sept. 11, 2001, and on the backdrop of the great shock of especially the young, it is important to turn one´s attention to all the difficulties that arise from these events. "We have to learn to deal with the fear" was the conclusion of people everywhere, not just in New York. Therefore, in the time between October and November 2001, 1000 youth and young adults were asked about their feelings and their views of the attacks and their after effects. Some questions were repeated a year later, in October 2002.
Which role do the media play in this context? Worldwide, viewers and readers were informed about every little detail. How useful and helpful was this information? What was the effect of the constantly reproduced images? Was its main purpose simply the "entertainment" of the public or did the medial reproduction of individual suffering lead to a deeper reflection about one´s own life and to the posing of global questions?

Duration of Funding: 2002-2004

Dr. Bernadette Jonda (Sociology)
Prof. Dr. Christina Holtz-Bacha (Communications)