My journalism career began in Pleasanton, for the now defunct CTV30, covering the Tri-Valley cities of San Ramon, Dublin, Livermore and Pleasanton. A prestigious, peer-nominated New York Times Minority Trainee opportunity took me to the Midwest to work in the Quad Cities region, reporting from both Illinois and Iowa. I also had the incredible opportunity (although brief) to serve as a national correspondent for the Black News Channel, until it went bankrupt in 2022.
I completed my undergraduate degrees, with honors, from San Francisco State University. My first degree is in TV-Radio News. My second degree is in International Relations, with a Middle East regional concentration, and an emphasis on Islamic political movements and Islamic feminism. My master's degree is in Comparative Political Economy from the London School of Economics. I studied and speak seven languages: Urdu, English, Saraiki, Punjabi, French, Hindi and Arabic.
My parents immigrated to the U.S. from Multan, Pakistan. I was born in Michigan, where my father was completing his doctorate degree. When I was two months old, my dad got a job in San Francisco. My family has been here ever since. I grew up in Danville, so covering the East Bay for ABC7 News is truly one of those full-circle moments.
My work has earned me several awards including an Emmy in 2021 for a Black Lives Matter protest, as well as national awards from the Radio Television and Digital News Association and the National Press Foundation for my coverage of the American-Muslim community. I have also been involved in programs to train foreign journalists; most recently in conjunction with the United States State Department, and another with the Media Diversity Institute in London.
Random notes about me: My favorite color is black. I have never drank coffee. I tried to be vegetarian - it didn't work, although I haven't eaten red meat since high school. If I wasn't a journalist, I would be a fitness trainer. I have traveled to 99 countries, which leaves 98 left to visit!
This gig has been a front row to history, having interviewed President Obama, President Bush, U.S. cabinet members and governors, along with other national and state politicians. There have been numerous professional athletes (yes, even some Olympians!), actors, Silicon Valley big wigs, amazing soccer moms, spelling bee champs, and Nobel Prize winners. I have been attacked at an anti-Muslim rally in Sacramento, spit on by White nationalists, and have talked with former Black-Panthers... you get the idea.
This job is not always easy. The working is grinding. A reporter must get as many sides to a story as possible, be factual, be resourceful and be responsible. But most nights I come home and think, "Wow! This is what I get to do every day?" And I wouldn't trade it for any other job.
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