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George Vlahakis
University Communications

Mike Conway
IU School of Journalism

Last modified: Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Veteran TV journalists Bob Dotson and Dana Jacobson to visit IU School of Journalism

Oct. 2, 2007

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Two major network television journalists will visit the Indiana University School of Journalism as part of a new class on visual storytelling. ESPN's Dana Jacobson, co-host of "First Take" will lecture on Oct. 22, and "NBC News" correspondent Bob Dotson, whose television feature stories about everyday Americans have earned him many fans and honors, is scheduled for Nov. 5.

Mike Conway, IU assistant professor of journalism and a former television photojournalist, designed the course to provide the future journalists with the video skills they will need in today's converged media landscape.

Jacobson and Dotson each will teach two classes during the day and meet with students, faculty and professional photojournalists at evening sessions that are open to the public. Jacobson's presentation, "What It Takes to Get to ESPN and Stay There," will begin at 7:45 p.m. in Woodburn Hall, Room 120. Dotson's, "A Survival Kit for Professional Storytellers: How to Compete with Cell Phones and Web Sites," will begin at 8 p.m. in the Ernie Pyle Hall Auditorium, Room 220, 940 E. Seventh St.

"Almost every media outlet has a Web site, and they are starting to realize the power of video," Conway said. "Just like during the early years of television, video journalism on the Internet right now for the most part is not very sophisticated. But the audience will eventually demand a higher level of video storytelling online. With this course, we are bringing in some of the best video storytellers in television to work with the students on how to use the video camera as a journalistic tool."

Dotson began his broadcasting career in 1969 at the NBC station in Oklahoma City, WKY-TV (now KFOR-TV), where he was director of special projects, and produced and directed 19 documentary programs until he left in 1975 to join "NBC News." He worked at NBC's station in Cleveland and in 1977 opened the network's first news bureau in Dallas, from where he covered Central America.

In 1979, Dotson moved to the "NBC News" bureau in Atlanta. In addition to his "Today" and "NBC Nightly News" assignments, he also has worked on several "NBC News" magazine programs.

His special reports, "American Story with Bob Dotson," air on the "Today Show" and the "NBC Nightly News," and have won more than 100 broadcast journalism honors, including four Emmy Awards and prizes from the Alfred I. Dupont-Columbia University Awards and the Society of Professional Journalists.

He was host of "Bob Dotson's America" on the Travel Channel and is the author of two books, including one for aspiring journalists, "Make It Memorable" (Bonus Books, 2000). He earned degrees from the University of Kansas and Syracuse University.

Many of Dotson's "American Story" segments can be viewed online at

For her classroom discussions, Jacobson will be joined by WRTV-TV anchor/reporter Ray Cortopassi. Jacobson and Cortopassi both started their television careers as reporter/photo journalists in Traverse City, Mich.

Since joining ESPN in 2002, she has been an anchor of the cable network's popular "Sports Center" program, co-host of its "Cold Pizza" morning show (now "ESPN First Take") as well as a sideline reporter on NBA broadcasts. A graduate of the University of Michigan, she got her start in journalism as a news anchor, producer and editor at WPBN/WTOM in Traverse City, and also worked as a reporter and sports anchor at KXTV and KHTK-Radio in Sacramento, Calif.

Cortopassi has been a reporter and anchor at WRTV in Indianapolis since 1999. A journalism graduate of Columbia College in Chicago, he also has been a television reporter in Las Vegas.