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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. 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

  2. Shari says:

    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).

  3. 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

  4. 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!

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