I Got a Doctorate to Write About… Television?


When Heidi Stevens, a columnist from the Chicago Tribune, contacted me for an interview about my recent Huffington Post piece, Five Reasons Why Parents Should Watch More TV, I was thrilled.

This Sunday she wrote a lively piece about her own quest to find more to watch television. A piece which includes my advice to her.

I love being interviewed. Since high school, when I was a reporter and editor for our school newspaper, I’ve been fascinated by the interview process. In college, I took a few classes on interviewing for research and journalism.  My dissertation is based on interview research. Honestly, though, I get a secret thrill out of someone asking me the questions.

And this time I got to be the “expert” in my newfound role as a doctorate in education. Was I disappointed that my first appearance in a national publication as an expert would not be about the role of charter schools in public education? Or about gender role stereotypes in girls’ learning? Or theories about how kids develop grit and resilience?

Um… No! I was not.

This is why I took a non-traditional path — writing about diaper changes and TV shows and books that I love just as much as evidence-based findings about learning and child development. I love pop culture. I love fiction. And I truly do think our lives are enriched by good writing and rich storytelling, whether those stories are in books or on television.

Judging by the reactions by some to my piece, not everyone agrees. That’s okay.

You’ll still find me watching The Walking Dead on Sunday nights rather than poring through educational research journals.

Or maybe I could teach a class about The Walking Dead…(Yes, this does exist.)

If you could have a famous journalist interview you about any topic (other than your actual profession), what would you want them to ask you about?




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  1. Congratulations! How wonderful you got interviewed by the Trib! Can’t wait to read!

  2. How fun to be interviewed! I am coming back to love for TV.

  3. Woah! That’s so cool!!

  4. Congratulations!!! How cool, I am hoping over to read right now!! What would I like to be interviewed on, I would not mind talking about my love of Homeland, Mad Men or lipstick!! Lol!
    Kathy Radigan recently posted…Don’t Buy A Black Lipstick and other life lessons I wish I knew when I was youngerMy Profile

  5. Congratulations on being an expert on SOMETHING! More than most people can claim, Dr!!
    Kate recently posted…Baskets of Emotions GiveawayMy Profile

  6. DId people really write negative things about your piece? That is so lame. I think it was fantastic, and you made some extremely thoughtful points. Especially the marriage bonding part. And also- I adored My So-Called Life. Someday I will watch the entire series as an adult- start to finish. Want to come over and watch it with me? 😉
    Stephanie @ Mommy, for Real. recently posted…Motherhood and Grief: Where Gratitude Meets RealityMy Profile

  7. You are SO awesome, Jessica. I love that you appreciate the finer things in life (see: The Walking Dead) and I am so incredibly proud of you for being interviewed by The Chicago Tribune. HUGE.
    Katia recently posted…The Difference Between Your ‘Mommy Guilt’ and Sarah Michelle Gellar’sMy Profile

  8. You. Are.So. Cool. And I love how varied your tastes (and expertise!) is. Awesome.
    Kristi Campbell recently posted…Being Here is the Best Part of My DayMy Profile

  9. Ahhhhhh!!!! No way!!!!! I am so excited for you!!!!

  10. Love the articles! I totally agree with you that TV has a lot to offer. We rarely watch movies anymore b/c we’d rather get lost in seasons of a great show.

    Have you seen Parenthood? I don’t think there’s been an episode where I haven’t been in tears (happy or sad).

    Another favorite is Dexter, which we get from the library (so are very behind).

  11. Congratulations! Interviewed about television? Very cool.
    Amy – Funny is Family recently posted…Maybe She’s Born With ItMy Profile

  12. Congrats! We actually use many examples from pop culture (TV and movies) in my Anthropology class, so you totally could teach that class. Off to watch some TV….
    Sarah @ LeftBrainBuddha recently posted…The A to Z Book Survey!My Profile

  13. TV really IS my area of expertise (self-taught). I would love to be interviewed about it. By any chance, are you looking for an intern?
    Jenn @ Something Clever 2.0 recently posted…In Defense of Maria KangMy Profile

  14. I never considered that watching t.v. would make me a better writer, but I definitely see how witnessing great writing acted out could do that. Congrats on Huff Po and Trib!

  15. I just love tv… Can I get a degree in that?
    Thanks for hooking up to the Hump Day Hook Up
    Molley@A Mother Life recently posted…Mouthwatering Autumn Pork RecipeMy Profile

  16. Congrats! And, yes, that is why you got a doctorate – so you can critique television shows. I’m sure you’ll make your money back in no time! But at least you’re an expert in something. I like to consider myself an expert in pumpkin picking and corn mazes. (And, I might have been one of the ones who gave you a hard time on your piece, but it wasn’t about the piece it was about some of your questionable TV choices!) AND, you didn’t include Modern Family.
    One Funny Motha recently posted…Word to Your Motha is Back & Badder Than BeforeMy Profile

  17. If you teach a class about The Walking Dead, my husband will be the first one to sign up. He’s got zombie mania.
    Linda Roy – elleroy was here recently posted…OctPoWriMo: Day 23: 5My Profile

  18. Elizabeth Smock says:

    Would totally love to be interviewed about my love for Disney, or experiences as a Rennie, or about the misunderstood kings, John and Richard III. Actually, if I’m careful, I can tie all of them together in a single story!

    And I’ve recently rediscovered TV–I’ve always been a huge reader, so TV was never a big deal for me. Then I started watching old seasons of CSI Miami, fell in love with the summer series The Glades, and am currently watching Glee on Netflix because I never got a chance to be a Gleek when it was on regular TV!

  19. This was so cool! And how true that we don’t always get noticed for what we imagined. A reminder that we can’t control everything. (Which I really resent!)
    Nina recently posted…How to Give a True ComplimentMy Profile

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