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.
NBC News Correspondent Bob Dotson has a unique approach. He searches the neglected corners of our country, seeking the extraordinary in ordinary lives. "Stories only happen to people who are allowed to tell them," says Dotson. "I look for the kind of guy who may never run for mayor, or go to the moon, or transplant a heart, but whose story may touch a viewer's heart."
His special reports, "American Story with Bob Dotson," are seen on the Today Show and other NBC News programs. 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, 2000); the other a memoir, "In Pursuit of the American Dream," (Athenaeum, NY, 1985.) 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 four National Emmys and eight nominations. The Society of Professional Journalists cited Dotson for the "Best Network Feature Reporting of 2004." The Radio and Television News Directors Association also honored him for "Best Network News Writing." Dotson’s work has won top journalism awards from the National Press Photographers, Dupont-Columbia and the Robert F. Kennedy Foundation.
His stories have taken him to every state, many times, and around the world. Dotson 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 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 lives in New York City, with his wife, the former Linda Puckett. They have one daughter, Amy.
During his career, Bob Dotson has received more than 100 awards, including an Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio-Television News Directors Association for "Best Network News Writing" in 1999, three national Emmys (and seven nominations), the top journalism awards from both DuPont-Columbia and the Robert F. Kennedy Foundation, numerous National Headliner Awards and "the highest honor in the field of photojournalism," the Sprague Memorial Citation from the National Press Photographers Association. His Dateline documentary "The Rivers Edge" won an Emmy Award in 1994.