Kiley Roache has been chosen as the 2018 Daniel Pearl Memorial Journalism Intern.
Roache is a senior majoring in Political Science. She has previously interned at the San Francisco Chronicle and was part of the Chicago Tribune’s teen publication The Mash. She also writes novels for young adults that address complex social and political issues.
A committee of Stanford Department of Communication faculty members evaluated applicants for the internship. The Wall Street Journal made the final decision.
The internship was established to commemorate the work and ideals of Pearl, a Stanford graduate and Wall Street Journal foreign correspondent who was kidnapped and murdered in Pakistan in 2002. Pearl, a 1985 graduate of the Department of Communication, was kidnapped in Karachi on Jan. 23, 2002, while working on a story retracing the steps of “shoe bomber” Richard Reid. A month later, on Feb. 21, his captors released a videotape of his slaying. He was 38.
I was sixteen years old when I first realized I wanted to be a journalist. I was at journalism camp for The Mash, the teen publication of the Chicago Tribune, and reporter Rick Hogan was telling a story about visiting a grade school for a story. When asked to draw a picture of something they wanted in the future, the kids drew the usual — money, ponies, astronauts. One girl drew a tree.
Mr. Hogan thought this was odd, but didn’t pay much attention. When he left the school building, he looked down the street. He saw the housing project where many of the students lived, and he saw tons of concrete. But there were no trees, nothing green. So he decided to take the child and her teacher on a field trip. They blindfolded her until they arrived at the farm-like Lincoln Park Zoo. When they removed the blindfold she asked, “Did we crash?” The reporter responded no. “But isn’t this heaven?” she said. It was the city she had lived in her entire life.
I still think of that story every time I sit down to conduct an interview or write an article. I carry with me what I learned: that while it is easy to transcribe the narrative handed down from the powerful, the voices that most need to be heard in a community are typically those that are too often ignored. Last winter, I wrote a story called “A Neighborhood Underwater” which exposed that the only area zoned for mobile home parks in Redwood City was also the only FEMA-designated flood hazard zone.
My reporting exposed institutional problems, but my writing primarily focused on those affected — the residents of Le Mar, a mobile home park that flooded regularly, even when California was in a drought. The piece included details like the princess dress a young girl wore as she played with toys only recently replaced after flooding.
Last spring, I reported the story of Yasin Rahimi, a refugee and former translator for the US Army in Afghanistan who now drives for Uber in the Bay Area. He told me about the challenges he faced leaving his home, where his former job for the Army made him a primary target for the Taliban. But he also described the small, everyday joys of his new life and job, including the conversations he has with his customers that break down stereotypes about Afghanistan.
While working on these articles, I saw the power of storytelling to paint humanity onto the page and build empathy across class and culture.
The power of Daniel Pearl’s writing was built equally by his investigative reporting ability and his talent at sharing little “quirky” truths about diverse individuals. He brought pieces of the lives of ordinary people, across cultures, onto the front page.
This is what I aspire do with my career. To show that individuals carry powerful stories and contain multitudes, whether they live a neighborhood or a world away.