Dr. Dhiman Chattopadhyay, assistant professor of communication/journalism, was awarded funding from the PASSHE Faculty Professional Development Council (FPDC) in support of his study titled “Does inclusivity build trust? Examining effects of inclusive, community-centered journalism on trust in media in minority groups.” Chattopadhyay was one of over 100 faculty members in the State System to submit proposals. Only 44 were selected for funding.

He was inspired to examine the topic after he assigned students to interview different minority groups as part of a Global Strategic Communications course.

“I started wondering why these groups trust the media even less than the majority communities/privileged groups,” he explained.

The three-part study will take place over the next nine to ten months and will kick off with a survey of multiple minority groups to measure trust in journalists and journalism.

In the second phase of the study, Chattopadhyay will work with Dr. Carrie Sipes, assistant professor of communication/journalism, to interview members of the minority groups surveyed. He and Sipes will be joined by 10 undergraduate students who will gain valuable research and interview experience along the way.

The interviews will become news feature stories and will appear on the WITF website and as radio stories. Chattopadhyay, Sipes and students will collaborate with WITF journalists to create the stories.

In the third and final phase, the stories will be shared with interview subjects and another round of surveys and interviews will take place to measure if engaging with journalists and seeing their voices and stories represented has an impact on their trust in journalists and journalism.

Chattopadhyay is hopeful the project advances journalism through several impactful ways. He believes it will inform scholar-teachers in a rapidly growing area of journalism, and in turn influence students to “show greater empathy, be more knowledgeable about community journalism and ultimately become more employable.”

Stories from the project will be shared on shipnews.org.