Julie Dobrow is Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies at Tufts University in Medford, MA. She holds faculty appointments in the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development and the Film and Media Studies Program in Tufts’ School of Arts and Sciences, as well as the Department of Public Health & Community Medicine at the Tufts Medical School. She is also a Senior Fellow in media and civic engagement at the Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts.
She previously taught at Boston University in the College of Communication.
Dobrow was born in New York City and raised on Long Island. Her professional training began at Smith College, where she studied anthropology, sociology, and women’s history. She received her MA and Ph.D. from the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, with a focus on the sociological implications of technology in mass communication. Work from her Ph.D. dissertation was published as a book, Social and Cultural Aspects of VCR Use (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1990).
Some of her research today focuses on the content and effects of media on children, a well as on issues of gender and ethnicity in media and how children make sense of these images in the world of animated programming. She is a co-founder of the Tufts Children’s Television Project (CTV) https://sites.tufts.edu/ctvresearch/ She was a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and other publications on topics related to children and media.
At Tufts, Dobrow has served as a faculty advisor for hundreds of theses and projects, and has organized major events including the annual Edward R. Murrow Forum on Issues in Journalism and the Eliot-Pearson Awards for Excellence in Children’s Media, which have brought to campus journalists including Ted Koppel, Dan Rather, Katie Couric, Tom Brokaw, Anderson Cooper, Christiane Amanpour and Katy Tur, and leaders in children’s entertainment such as the creators and researchers behind Sesame Street and LeVar Burton (video links available here.)
The mother of four children, she was repeatedly elected to the School Committee in her town (and also served as its chair), served several years on that town’s Conservation Commission, served as chair of her community’s Cultural Council and is now on the town Personnel Board. Dobrow is also a board member of the Boston Authors Club – an organization that Mabel Loomis Todd helped to found.