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Mohar Chatterjee

I'm a journalist and an engineer.

I report stories that combine innovative software skills and traditional investigative techniques.

Mohar Chatterjee

About Me

The short version:

  • Indian Bengali raised in Bahrain, based in NYC.
  • Caltech Undergrad (B.S. in Mechanical Engineering + Business Economics and Management).
  • Columbia University Grad (M.S. in Computer Science + M.S. in Journalism).
  • Currently Senior Research & Data Fellow at the Brown Institute for Media Innovation, MuckRock.
  • Previously at the Washington Post Newsroom Engineering Team / News Apps.
  • POLITICO Reporting Fellow, Class of 2022-2023

The long version:

My work spans national politics, software engineering for newsrooms, data science for climate and public health reporting, and investigative reporting on international narcotics trade-routes.

What I'm interested in now:

During my graduate career, I've developed a focus in deep learning for computer vision applications, and international conflict reporting through remote sensing techniques.

What got me here:

I've previously worked as a Venture Capital analyst, an
assistant producer for a filmmaker, and was part of the
artist-in-residence program at C.E.R.N. At Caltech, I built autonomous robots, and worked as a researcher in labs
spanning the fields of topological quantum dynamics, material science, autonomous technologies, and microfluidic systems.

What drives me:

I am and always will be always deeply curious about the commercial and societal impact of novel and/or pervasive technologies. I also believe that we work best when we collaborate. Throughout my career, I've had the opportunity to lead numerous technical and logistical teams with notable success.

Get in touch with me at mc4958@columbia.edu.

Keep scrolling to see my latest work. Find more on on my resume below. Follow me on social media for updates!

My Recent Publications

New Mexico 1st District U.S. House special election results

Republicans have not run a competitive race in New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District since 2012, as Albuquerque and its suburbs grew more strongly Democratic. When Democrat Deb Haaland left the seat this year to become interior secretary, Republicans saw an outside shot at winning a quick special election, reducing the Democrats’ already narrow House majority and taking back the suburban turf lost under President Donald Trump. Democrats, who saw that risk, picked state Rep. Melanie Stansbury

Fentanyl Is Killing More People During the Pandemic. In Santa Clara County, Victims Are Getting Younger

In April, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office filed murder charges against one of those alleged dealers for selling fake pills that killed an 18-year-old woman. Grace Bhardwaj and her 17-year-old boyfriend had purchased what they thought were Percocet pills on Snapchat on April 5, according to the county's District Attorney’s Office.. What the couple got instead, officials said, are known on the street as M-30s, little blue pills with an M inside a box on one side and the number

How We Analyzed Death Records and Found Overdoses Rising

While reporting on infectious disease deaths is normally considered the purview of the medical examiner or coroner, most counties in California assigned the tracking and reporting of COVID-19-related deaths to local health departments. In Santa Clara County, all COVID-19 deaths were reported to, and reviewed by, the Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office, regardless of whether an individual lived in the county or elsewhere. This included deaths occurring at home, and in hospitals, long-term care fac

California's Working-Age Latinos Are Disproportionately Dying of COVID-19

On Dec. 20, as many Bay Area families prepared to celebrate an unusual pandemic Christmas, Maribel Alvarado’s family confronted some shocking news. The vibrant 38-year-old had died suddenly from COVID-19 that day, at a Kaiser Hospital in San Jose. Alvarado had started feeling symptoms less than a week before, and her doctor had recommended bed rest, said her sister Carmen Bueno. Alvarado didn’t have any other illnesses or high-risk medical conditions. “She was perfectly healthy. So I’m just conf

Analysis & updates | Why Some States Won’t Share Race and Ethnicity Data on Vaccinations with the CDC—and Why That’s a Problem

This past fall, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asked every US state and territory to , agreeing to share wide-ranging vaccine data and records with the federal government. raised concerns, but every one signed. But it turns out that most states ended up withholding the names, addresses, ZIP codes, and dates of birth of those vaccinated, and at least seven states go a step further and redact race and ethnicity data from the federal government or don’t collect it in the first plac

Michigan was warned about British COVID-19 variant, but many ignored it

Michigan was warned about British COVID-19 variant, but many ignored it A deadlier coronavirus variant that had first ravaged Britain was now here — in metro Detroit, at the University of Michigan, a state prison in Ionia and rural counties in the Thumb region — with doctors, nurses and public health officials fully aware. And yet Michiganders — from state prison employees to small business owners and local officials to parents of high school athletes — ignored medical experts' repeated warnin

The Demise of White House Market Will Shake Up the Dark Web

You’ve probably never heard of White House Market. Google can't find it. Its vendors don't advertise much. The few public references to the website are on Reddit forums or specialty tech blogs. But among users of the dark web, WHM was, for years, the go-to online marketplace for illegal drugs and fraudulent credit cards. Despite never reaching the peak trading volumes of its more-famous cousins Silk Road and AlphaBay, White House Market had established itself as one of the most popular—and secu

2021 California recall election results

California voters decided Sept. 14 not to recall their governor from office. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) avoided the fate of former governor Gray Davis (D), who was replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger in a similar 2003 vote. Voters, who started casting ballots weeks ago, were asked two questions: Do you want to recall Newsom? And if the governor is recalled, who should replace him? Republicans had criticized Newsom for the state’s homelessness and housing issues but in the past weeks targeted his effor

The US is undercounting COVID deaths, researchers say. Now they have a tool to figure out why.

The US is undercounting COVID deaths, researchers say. Now they have a tool to figure out why. Death rates among Native, Hispanic and Black Americans still outpace pre-pandemic figures, showing the hidden toll of COVID-19 on communities of color even as vaccines have become widely available, according to data released this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Consider the impact to Hispanic residents: In the first 10 months of 2021, before the typically deadly winter months,

A Corner for Experimentation

Photo and video storytelling skills I'm working on.

Fossil Fuels and Natural Gas Extraction Map API Walkthrough

Basic, interactive 3D map to help users understand and visualize impact of oil and natural gas extraction on wildlands, water and air quality within the United States. API supports user review system for local wildlife spotting, air, and water quality. Extraction sites, air and water quality databases were created using EPA, US Geological Survey, and FracTracker Alliance data. Developed by Mohar Chatterjee and John Daciuk for Columbia's Introduction to Databases class (Luis Gravano, Fall 2020). Back-end: PostgreSQL, SQLAlchemy, Flask Python. Front-end: Google Maps API, JavaScript.