Class learns keys to storytelling from NBC reporter

NBC News’ Bob Dotson speaks to Prof. Peter Jaroff’s class. (photo by Ethan Schwartz)

For longtime NBC News correspondent Bob Dotson, great journalism isn’t about the five Ws: “Who? What? When? Where? Why?” When Dotson builds a story, it’s all about “Hey! You! See? So?”

It’s a technique the multiple Emmy winner shared April 9 with Prof. Peter Jaroff’s “Broadcast Production Practicum” class in Temple University’s School of Media and Communication.

Dotson was in Philadelphia to be the special guest at the third annual Kal and Lucille Rudman Media Seminar, an event designed to help students, educators and professionals explore key issues and meet the people who shape contemporary media.

Dotson said his story structure helps him get the viewers’ attention right away, lets them know the story is pertinent to their lives, explains the details and then tells them why they should care. He equated his style to that of a parent’s bedtime story. They don’t just end the tale, they give their child a kiss and tuck them in for the night.

“Of course, I could be wrong,” he joked, “but I’m still working.”

Paul Gluck, general manager of TUTV, and Karen Curry, executive director of the Kal and Lucille Rudman Institute for Entertainment Industry Studies of Drexel University, shared the interviewing duties at the Rudman Seminar. (photo by Jeffrey Hill)

The students asked questions about making their first inroads into the industry and building their brand as a broadcaster.

“I made myself into a brand and that’s the only reason I’m still here,” said Dotson, who is best known for his flowing feature stories that come from people who seem like the “Average Joes” of the world. “I found an area of interest that no one else had.”

The Rudman Media Seminar is sponsored jointly by TUTV-Temple University Television/the Kal and Lucille Rudman Media Production Center at Temple University, the Kal and Lucille Rudman Institute for Entertainment Industry Studies of Drexel University and CCPTV, the Educational Channel of Community College of Philadelphia.