James R. Bettinger, (650) 725-1189
First Daniel Pearl Memorial Journalism Intern named
A Stanford Daily editor majoring in international relations has been chosen as the first Daniel Pearl Memorial Journalism Intern. The internship was established in November 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.
Vauhini Vara, 20, a junior from Mercer Island, Wash., who is minoring in economics and creative writing, was selected from among 21 applicants for the position. Vara will work in a foreign bureau of the Wall Street Journal this summer.
Applicants for the internship were judged not only on their journalistic abilities and potential but on the degree to which they exemplified the work and ideals of Pearl: a commitment to explaining different cultures to each other, an emphasis on the stories of ordinary people rather than those in positions of power and a focus on the dignity of individuals.
In an essay written as part of the application process, Vara described a four-part series on East Palo Alto that she had written: "The experience taught me an important lesson: Journalism is about people. It's about allowing real human beings to tell the journalist what the story is, instead of the other way around."
Vara has been on the staff of the Stanford Daily since her freshman year. She has had previous internships at the Denver Post and Stanford magazine.
Applicants for the internship were evaluated by a committee of Communication Department faculty members. The final decision was made by the Journal.
Pearl, a 1985 graduate of Stanford's 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.