Martin Dobrow is an author, a national award-winning journalist, a podcaster, and a professor whose work is focused on issues of race and social justice.
The hallmarks of Dobrow’s writing are deep reporting, poignant personal storytelling, and a sharp eye for the bittersweet complexity of American life. He writes mosaic nonfiction, excavating the extraordinary stories of little-known characters to shed light on uncomfortable truths.
Dobrow’s last book, Knocking on Heaven’s Door: Six Minor Leaguers in Search of the Baseball Dream (University of Massachusetts Press, 2010), earned a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, which called it “beautifully written, meticulously orchestrated.” The book explored a minor league culture that is both charmingly innocent and utterly ruthless. He also wrote Going Bigtime: The Spectacular Rise of UMass Basketball (Summerset Press, 1996) that intimately examined the pros—and the cons—of a rise to the top in college basketball.
Over the years, the focus of Dobrow’s writing has evolved from sports, to a mixture of sports and social justice, to civil rights. His work in these areas has appeared in numerous publications, including The Atlantic, The Washington Post, espn.com, and The Boston Globe.
Dobrow’s knack for finding and plumbing the depths of important social justice stories was illustrated last year when he wrote the first profile of Dan Smith, the son of a man born into slavery in 1863. Smith attended the March on Washington and both inaugurations of Barack Obama, and then, at age 88, was involved in the Black Lives Matter protests in Washington D.C. after the murder of George Floyd. Dobrow’s article on medium.com led to major follow-up stories and interviews in outlets ranging from The Washington Post to the BBC.
Dobrow and his former student, Kris Rhim, are the co-hosts of “Liberty, Justice, and Ball,” a podcast sponsored by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Focused on the intersection of basketball and social justice, the podcast has featured interviews this year with Hall of Famers such as Grant Hill, Jerry West, Bernard King, Tina Thompson, Bob Cousy, and Robert Parish.
A professor of communications at Springfield College, Dobrow has been given the school’s highest teaching award (Distinguished Professor of Humanics), He has also been named the New England Journalism Educator of the Year. Courses he has developed include “Martin, Malcolm, and the Media” and “The Journalism of Civil Rights and Social Justice.”
Dobrow has published more than 2,000 articles in a variety of newspapers, magazines, and online outlets. He has been honored with first-place national writing awards from organizations such as the United States Basketball Writers Association and the Associated Press Sports Editors, as well as six times being recognized in The Best American Sports Writing anthology.