Sara James is an award-winning correspondent for Dateline NBC, where her work has earned her an Emmy, several Gracies, and a Headliner award among others. Since joining the broadcast in December of 1994, she has covered a wide range of stories in the U.S. and overseas. Her first book, The Best of Friends: Two Women, Two Continents, and One Enduring Friendship, is a dual memoir with National Geographic/PBS wildlife filmmaker Ginger Mauney. It explores their learning curve on life as seen through the lens of the 30-year friendship that sustained them and empowered these small town Southern girls to pursue unconventional passions.
James won a 2004 Headliner award for her report, “Meet Jane Doe,” which followed a young woman’s struggle to walk again after being injured during the September 11th attack. She also received a 2004 Gracie Award from the American Women in Radio and Television for her report, “Life in the Fast Lane,” about the devastating impact of methamphetamine addiction on women.
James received another Gracie Award in 2001 for her work, “The Long Journey Back,” which chronicled one family’s harrowing ordeal in the aftermath of the massacre at Columbine High School. Her coverage of the slayings also earned her a 1999 Emmy Award for outstanding coverage of a news story for “Killing at Columbine.”
In 1999, James journeyed to the dangerous border of Afghanistan to report on the brutal Taliban regime and its treatment of women. She was the first network reporter to travel to the bottom of the Atlantic to the site of the Titanic for the Dateline/Discovery Special, “Raising the Titanic,” in 1998. James’ report, “Stolen Generation,” on the forced removal of Australian Aboriginal children from their mothers won the 1998 Overseas Press Club of America Citation for Excellence.
Domestically, James has covered a host of watershed events, including the Oklahoma City bombing and the first World Trade Center bombing trial. Her story on the crippling effects of obsessive-compulsive disorder won top honors from the American Psychiatric Association. Internationally, her reporting duties have taken her to the former Yugoslavia to report on the Bosnian War Crimes Tribunal, throughout Asia to report on medical experiments conducted on prisoners of war by the Japanese during World War II, to London to cover the death of Princess Diana and to Sudan for an investigation of present-day slavery. The Sudanese slavery story earned James the prestigious 1997 National Press Club award for international reporting. Furthermore, James is also the recipient of the New York Festival Award and an award from American Women in Radio and Television for her story on the first American woman to be considered for the space program.
In addition to her duties for the newsmagazine, James also serves as a substitute co-anchor and substitute newsreader on NBC News’ Today and Weekend Today and on MSNBC.
James is a graduate of the University of Virginia. She was born in Durham, North Carolina and raised in Richmond, Virginia where she first met her lifelong friend Ginger Mauney. She is married to Andrew Butcher and they have two daughters, Sophie and Jacqueline.