John Dancy was born on August 5, 1936, in Jackson, Tennessee. Dancy attained a degree in journalism from Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, where he learned the art of reporting.
Dancy began his news reporting career with NBC in 1969. He covered every beat in Washington D.C. and worked as a foreign correspondent in London, Berlin, and Moscow. He also reported on major world incidents, such as the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Gulf War. Dancy anchored on NBC Nightly News, Meet the Press, and NBC News at Sunrise and was the senior correspondent for each program.
Dancy retired from NBC in 1996 and then began teaching broadcast journalist students. Dancy received an invitation from Laurie Wilson, former chair of the Department of Communications at Brigham Young University, to teach at BYU and he accepted. He worked as the interim director for International Media Studies for BYU, and taught students how media systems differ internationally. While at BYU, Dancy recruited international students and scholars to take part in the Communications Department programs and lecture series. Dancy also prepared a bi-annual PBS production that explained how reporters do their job. Dancy’s foreign and government correspondence at NBC provided a unique experience for the students and faculty at BYU.
Dancy has also taught at Harvard University, and at George Washington University in Washington D.C. He is currently teaching at Duke University in Durham, N.C.
John Dancy is the recipient of many awards, including the Everett McKinley Dirksen Prize which he received in 1987. This award is the most prestigious award given for the best coverage of Congress. Other awards given to Dancy include the Overseas Press Club's Citation for Excellence Award, the Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism Award, the Janus Award, an honorary doctorate from Union University, and four National Emmy Awards.