NBC News Correspondent, American story with Bob Dotson
Bob Dotson: Seeking the Extraordinary in Ordinary Lives
His reports, American Story with Bob Dotson, are seen on TODAY and as hour-long specials on MSNBC. He was also the writer and host of Bob Dotson’s America, a series of half-hour programs on the Travel Channel, and the author of two books: one for aspiring journalists, Make it Memorable, (Bonus Books); the other a memoir, In Pursuit of the American Dream, (Athenaeum, NY). His literary work won the George Washington Honor Medal for excellence.
He has received more than 100 awards for his work in broadcast journalism, including five national Emmys and nine nominations. On Sept. 27, 2010, his report on the Fighting Grossmans—eight brothers who fought in World War II simultaneously, the last of whom worked as a Wal-Mart greeter at age 90—won an Emmy for Outstanding Feature Story in a Regularly Scheduled Newscast.
In addition, the Radio and Television News Directors have chosen Dotson to receive the Edward R. Murrow award for Writing a record five times. The Society of Professional Journalists picked Dotson for the “Best Network Feature Reporter.” His work has also won top journalism awards from the National Press Photographers, DuPont-Columbia and the Robert F. Kennedy Foundation.
Dotson’s stories have taken him to every state, many times, and around the world. He is an internationally acclaimed documentary producer. His film, El Capitan’s Courageous Climbers (NBC Productions,) was the winner of seven International Film and Video Festivals and was awarded documentary’s highest honor, the CINE Grand Prize. Over the years Dotson saved more than 6,000 original story tapes, whenever his bosses, looking to save space, tossed them out. He preserved not just the stories themselves, but every field cassette. For three decades, they were maintained at his own expense in air-conditioned rooms—first in his basement and then, as the collection grew, in warehouses. NBC donated that archive to the Oklahoma Historical Society. All of Dotson’s stories are now available to scholars at the Society’s new 64 million dollar museum next to the state capitol.
Dotson began his broadcasting career at the NBC station in Oklahoma City, WKY-TV (now KFOR-TV,) where he was director of Special Projects. In that post, he produced and directed 19 documentary programs from 1969 until 1975. He joined NBC News in 1975 as a reporter at WKYC-TV, the NBC television station in Cleveland. Two years later, he opened NBC’s first news bureau in Dallas from which he covered Central America. In 1979, he moved to the NBC News bureau in Atlanta. In addition to his TODAY and NBC Nightly News assignments, he also worked on several NBC News magazine programs.
Dotson was born in St. Louis, Mo. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism and political science from Kansas University (1968) and a Master of Science in television and film from Syracuse University (1969) where he was a Graduate Fellow and Outstanding Masters candidate. While attending college, he was a reporter and photographer for KMBC-TV in Kansas City, Missouri and was news director and reporter for KFKU-KANU-FM in Lawrence, Kansas.
With a record four Edward R. Murrow Awards under his belt, NBC News’ Bob Dotson will say his strategy is to let his images tell much of the story. He shares inspiring tales of ordinary Americans who do extraordinary things, with the kind of twist that will make morning viewers “late for the bus.” In one segment, he chronicles brothers who found their father’s sunken World War II submarine in the Bering Sea when the Navy couldn’t. In another, he shares the ordeals of an Idaho doctor who is willing to fly to other towns and cities to see patients. Each of the stories explores why seemingly average Americans endure obstacles and hardships to achieve results that touch the heart. In truth, it is Dotson’s persistence in tracking down these stories that is equally inspiring. Audiences won’t want to miss this heart-warming presentation that lifts spirits and instills hope..