Bob Dotson to Deliver One Last American Story

By Chris Ariens Comment

Bob Dotson, national correspondent for the Today show and reporter of the series American Story, is leaving the network, TVNewser has learned.

Dotson’s final American Story will air this Friday, nearly 40 years to the day after he joined NBC News. “Together we criss-crossed the United States, more than 4 million miles, 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,” Dotson writes in a note to colleagues.

Dotson has shelves-full of awards–more than 120–including six Edward R. Murrow awards for writing and eight Emmys.

A native of St. Louis, Dotson got his first TV job in 1969 at WKY-TV in Oklahoma City. In 1975 he moved to NBC News, working with Cleveland station WKYC. In 1977, he opened a new NBC News bureau in Dallas. In 1979, he moved to NBC News’ Atlanta bureau. For the past 35 years, he’s been a part of the Today show.

“I shall miss you all — both those who are working now and those who have gone before,” Dotson writes. “It’s tough to leave a place so filled with memories and friends, but those friendships were never tied to the office.”

Dotson spent 200 nights a year on the road; 8,000 nights in total, or the equivalent of nearly 22 years in hotel rooms.  He made up for his absences by dedicating the other half of his life to his wife Linda and their daughter Amy. “Linda taught me an  important lesson,” Bob says: ‘Work and life may have the same number of letters, but they are not the same.'”

The Today show staff and crew will gather in the studio after Friday’s show for a toast.

An email is no way to say goodbye …

Unfortunately, given the nature of news, we are seldom in one room together.

I’ll be in the office and on the show this Friday for my last American Story, almost 40 years to the day NBC hired a red headed kid with a different approach to news. While most correspondents focused on life’s flat tires, that kid looked for something far more difficult to find – what kept the other tires rolling. This was no solitary quest. A list of folks who helped produce the American Story would be longer than the TODAY Show credits. Together we criss-crossed the United States, more than 4 million miles, 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. We worked the neglected streets of our cities, the small towns and dirt roads, searching for names we don’t know, but should, people with thoughtful solutions to problems we all face. Firm in the belief that Wisdom doesn’t always wear a suit.

This is one of those sad/happy times. I shall miss you all — both those who are working now and those who have gone before. It’s tough to leave a place so filled with memories and friends, but those friendships were never tied to the office. I’ll take them with me.

Keep the storytelling flame burning.

Bob Dotson
American Story

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