Dr. Dhiman Chattopadhyay spent 18 years reporting on hurricanes, terrorist attacks, general elections and traveling to England to cover the Wimbledon tennis tournament before teaching public relations at Shippensburg University.
Chattopadhyay was born in Kolkata, India. There he spent most of his time traveling and working in India as well as around the world.
“I [have] a master’s in world history and it gave me a big, wide background about journalism history,” Chattopadhyay said.
In 1996, after finishing his masters, he joined a newspaper group in India called The Asian Age. He worked there for four years before becoming a city editor for the Kolkata edition. In 2001, he joined the Times of India.
“I was the city reporter; I had a team of 17 or 18 correspondents from the city and all around the state that would send in their stories,” Chattopadhyay said. “Not only did I have to report my stories but also edit other people’s stories.”
During his time as a city reporter, Chattopadhyay covered his most difficult story: The Kolkata railway accident. A terrorist group had hijacked the railway system and killed 350 people. Chattopadhyay had reported the incident for four days straight and slowly began to feel affected by the event.
“I’ve never seen that many dead people in my life. I was not physically prepared for it; I was not emotionally prepared for it,” Chattopadhyay said. “I went non-stop for four days until I finally went home and really thought about it. For the next month, every night, I had nightmares.”
He managed hundreds of journalists during his stay at the Times of India. Even though he had a higher position, he missed reporting stories.
“My hands itched when there was a bomb scare or a hurricane, a tragedy or a happy story. I had to send people [to report] so I was jealous of [them],” Chattopadhyay said. “It meant a lot more responsibility and work became harder.”
One of the perks of his journalism career was knowing actress Priyanka Chopra personally. He had interviewed her when she was Miss India in 2000 and interviewed her again after winning the Miss World title in the same year.
“One of my favorite stories was when [Priyanka] was Miss India and she came down to Kolkata for one of her first events held in a dance club. We sat down and started talking and asked me if I dance. I liked to tell people that before she danced with anyone in Bollywood, she danced with me.”
Fourteen years later, he moved to the United States. to obtain his Doctorate in journalism. He earned his degree at Bowling Green State University in Ohio and went on to teach at the Lamar University in Texas.
This semester Chattopadhyay is teaching public relations courses and diversity in the media. He plans on creating a graduate program at SU to help students expand their research on journalism.
Chattopadhyay wants to make SU more open to diversity especially in the journalism department.
He wants students to write about cultural and political issues others can gain knowledge from.
“We need more diversity more than ever before,” Chattopadhyay said. “And by diversity, I don’t mean just race. If students don’t get exposed to the world then you’ll have trouble in your work life. Empathy is created when you have diversity in the newsroom.”
His advice for future journalist is to be open and flexible to multiple ways of thinking. “Be prepared to learn 10 ways to deal with the world and then go out and face your assignment in the eleventhway of living. Be aware that your experiences will be different, and you have to be flexible.”