NBC News Correspondent Bob Dotson has been in more motel rooms than the Gideon Bible, crisscrossing this country, four million miles, practically nonstop, for 40 years, searching for people who are practically invisible, the ones who change our lives, but don’t take time to tweet and tell us about it.
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"They may not run for President or go on talk shows," Dotson says, "but without their contribution, the kind of country we love would not exist. These are people with thoughtful solutions to problems we all face, incredible ideas that work, a blueprint for our own dreams and a way to make America better. The country survives and thrives because of all those names we don’t know, ordinary people who live life with passion, who succeed not just on talent and hard work, but curiosity and imagination."
His long-running series, "The American Story with Bob Dotson," is a regular feature on the TODAY show and other NBC News programs. He has received more than 100 awards for his work in broadcast journalism, including eight National Emmys. In 2012 the Radio Television Digital News Association chose Dotson to receive the Edward R. Murrow Award for Writing a record sixth time and the Society of Professional Journalists cited Dotson's columns for TODAY.COM as the "best writing in new media." His work has also won top journalism awards from the National Press Photographers, Dupont-Columbia and 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. He started with a groundbreaking film called “Through the Looking Glass, Darkly,” which chronicled Black history in the old west at a time when such history was mostly ignored by mainstream media. “Looking Glass” won every major award and started Dotson on his long career at NBC News.
He was also the writer and host of “Bob Dotson's America,” a series of programs on the Travel Channel and has written three books, the latest "American Story," (Viking Press, New York, NY) was published in March 2013. His literary writing has won the George Washington Honor Medal for excellence.
Dotson's stories often take him to places other reporters seldom stop, so over the years he saved more than 6,000 videotapes, 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, then, as the collection grew, in warehouses. He finally returned them to NBC when the company agreed to digitize this unique archive and make it available to scholars. NBC donated a copy of Dotson's archive to the University of Oklahoma in the state where his career began.
Dotson started working at the NBC station in Oklahoma City, WKY-TV (now KFOR-TV.) 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, Mo., and was news director and reporter for KFKU-KANU-FM in Lawrence, Kansas.
Dotson lives in New York City with his wife, the former Linda Puckett. They have one daughter, Amy, who is the Creative Director of Independent Film Project, an organization that teaches film makers how best to tell their stories.
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