By Derek Clayton
Trudging along in a snowstorm, rolling at 15 mph and fighting to stay on the road, Tushar Dayal had no idea braving the elements would be the start of his career in media. Especially since he came to Iowa State as a business major.
Dayal’s academic career in the College of Business was a short one. His knack for photography drew him to journalism, where he found himself enjoying classes much more. Like many student journalists, he worked for the Iowa State Daily in its photography department. Shortly afterward, he became director of photography for Uhuru, a multicultural student magazine.
In 2008, during the Iowa caucuses, the BBC asked Greenlee students to cover the event through a five-day internship. Dayal, ’09, was one of the first to respond. When the BBC invited its new interns to a kickoff dinner in Des Moines, Dayal was determined to be there, even if he had to drive in a blizzard to do it. While the other interns stayed safe and warm, Tushar ventured out into the storm.
“That was the moment I realized I really wanted to do this,” Dayal said. “I really wanted to be there.”
Dayal was the only intern at the dinner, securing a place in the memories of every BBC employee present. For the caucuses, he found himself with the coolest jobs. While his peers transcribed lengthy videos, Dayal got to run with the camera crews and drive people to events.
A year later, he graduated, and the BBC remembered his previous work, hiring him as a broadcast engineer.
“The BBC has a huge operation around the world,” Dayal said. “I would talk to someone one day, and the next day I see them in Syria, ducking under gunfire.”
Eventually, the BBC sent Dayal to cover the U.S. Republican and Democratic conventions in 2012, where he was in charge of a plethora of cameras and servers.
His next opening came when the Senate Democratic Media Center changed leadership and organized a new staff. His name came up in the hiring process and he took a position as the engineer for the multimedia center, moving to Washington, D.C., in early 2017.
Dayal manages the entire facility, ensuring everything from the video equipment to the transmission equipment is up and running. He is key for daily operations as he provides the infrastructure for the camera operators, video editors and graphic designers who work there.
Dayal is content with where he’s at, and he’ll never forget the most critical point in his career when he battled a snow storm.
“It wasn’t a good idea in terms of safety,” said Dayal. “But it got me a leg up.”