Dinges is in charge of the school’s radio curriculum, which he revamped to emphasize public radio journalism. He received a BA from Loras College and an MA in Latin American Studies from Stanford University. Dinges began his career as a reporter and copy editor for The Des Moines Register & Tribune. He was a freelance correspondent in Latin America for many years, during the period of military governments and civil wars in South and Central America, writing for Time, The Washington Post, ABC Radio, The Miami Herald and other news organizations. On his return to the United States, he worked as assistant editor on the foreign desk at The Washington Post. He joined National Public Radio as it was building up its foreign coverage, serving as deputy foreign editor and managing editor for news.
He is the author, most recently, of "The Condor Years: How Pinochet and his Allies Brought Terrorism to Three Continents" (The New Press 2004). His other books include "Assassination on Embassy Row" (1980), "Our Man in Panama: The Shrewd Rise and Brutal Fall of Manuel Noriega" (1990), "Sound Reporting: The National Public Radio Guide to Radio Journalism and Production" (as co-editor and co-author) (1992), and "Independence and Integrity: A Guidebook for Public Radio Journalism" (co-editor) (1995).
His awards include the Maria Moors Cabot Prize for excellence in Latin American reporting, the Latin American Studies Media Award, and two Alfred I. du Pont-Columbia University Awards (as NPR Managing Editor). He serves on the advisory boards of Human Rights Watch and the National Security Archive, and is a juror for the Cabot awards and the du-Pont Columbia awards.