Most of what hear about America these days outlines our frustrations – the widening gap between the haves and the have-nots, middle class jobs fading away, hate-filled politics that prefers gridlock to compromise. What we know about America mostly comes from journalists who travel in herds, trailing politicians or camped out at big stories, pouncing on problems to repeat over and over. They offer up celebrity experts for solutions, the people who spend their busy days spouting opinions to cameras, while others in the shadows quietly make America work.
America survives and thrives because of all those names we don’t know, seemingly ordinary people who do extraordinary things. They don’t run for president or go on talk shows, but without them, the best of America would not exist. Bob Dotson has traveled more than four million miles, crisscrossing America practically non-stop for half a century, 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.
His long-running series, “The American Story with Bob Dotson,” was a regular feature on the TODAY Show until his retirement on the 40th anniversary of the day he joined NBC. I met Bob in 1998 at the National Press Photographers Association workshop in Norman, Oklahoma. It was that day, I began a journey of telling stories. He taught me the passion and skill behind the interview, something I use everyday of my professional career.
Check Out Links Below:
- NBC News: Bob Dotson looks back at 40 years of American Stories
- Book: American Story: A Lifetime Search for Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things
- Book: Make It Memorable: Writing and Packaging Visual News with Style
- Additional Music Reference: The Ants That Built A City On His Chest by Doctor Turtle is licensed under CC BY 4.0.
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