By Carlos Ferrand
Former Ranger editor Zahra Farah, a senior at Texas State University on an internship for the Scripps Howard News Service in Washington, D.C., covered the Washington Navy Yard shooting Monday.
Her story “13 dead in Washington Navy Yard Shooting” was distributed to The Post, Ohio University’s independent student-run newspaper, and Kansas City infoZine, Kansas City metro area digital magazine, by the news service.
Farah, editor of The Ranger in spring 2011, is in her third internship, after graduating from this college in 2011.
Danger and fear did not really register with Farah as she covered the shooting, she said Wednesday in a telephone interview.
“You just want to get the story,” Farah said. “You just want to get the information and let people know what is going on.”
A reporter’s focus completely changes, and fear or danger does not register, she said. The same rules apply when covering something on campus or a national event.
In May 2010, Farah was serving as the news editor for The Ranger when she and 40 other people were quarantined in Fletcher Administration Center while a HazMat crew inspected a suspicious package in the mail room.
Farah immediately got out her reporter’s notebook and used her cell phone to send reports to The Ranger newsroom.
“Automatically start reporting, start gathering information and as soon as you can, get that information to your editor,” she said.
She did not imagine seeking a career in journalism until a high school teacher encouraged her to attend the 2008 Urban Journalism Workshop for high school students sponsored by this college’s journalism program.
After she graduated from Stevens High School in 2009, she enrolled at this college as a journalism major. Farah wrote for The Ranger for two years.
She attributes the skills she learned at The Ranger as a major ingredient in her confidence.
“If I had not gone to SAC, I don’t know how serious I would have taken journalism,” she said.
The professors and advisers in the department hold staff to such a high level it makes everyone want to perform at a high level and produce great stories, Farah said.
In May 2012, Farah participated in the New York Times Institute in New Orleans.
In summer 2012, The Buster Haas Minority Internship Program selected Farah for a scholarship and an internship at The San Angelo Standard-Times in San Angelo.
While at The San Angelo Standard-Times, she was a general assignment reporter and her favorite stories dealt with the food regulation of farmers markets.
The Chips Quinn Scholars Internship program selected Farah to intern at The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky., this summer.
Again as a general assignment reporter, Farah gained more experience and covered a shoot-out in a McDonald’s parking lot.
Farah said she earned all her internships through her résumé and story clips from The Ranger.
She has not taken any additional journalism skills classes since she left this college.
“I’m just really nosy and I really just want to know what is going on,” she said.