All of my work, from producing at CNN to my current freelance journalism, has allowed me to connect with incredible, courageous people. I love sharing their stories - and the lessons I’ve learned about values-driven journalism - with live audiences of all ages. I specialize in discussing challenging topics, like the Syrian civil war and white nationalism in America, in accessible, digestable, and even fun ways!
In this hands-on workshop, students will immerse themselves in the world of journalism with my proprietary journalism simulation lab curriculum. The best way to learn to be a reporter is to just do it, but that’s easier said than done for students who don’t have the skills to do real-life reporting. In this simulation, students will serve as reporters for a fictitious newspaper or news channel, and walk through a carefully crafted fictional scenario with interview transcripts, video clips, police reports, and more to get to the bottom of what really happened. By the end of the workshop, teams of students will present their age appropriate deliverable, ranging from a short TV news report to full investigative newspaper article. Think: murder mystery meets science lab! This is a fun favorite with students.
As media literacy becomes a requirement in New Jersey and other states, we have an opportunity to engage students in the nuances of media literacy and contemporary journalism. In this interactive program, we’ll discuss and practice how to read, watch, and listen to modern media— and why it might be harder than students think! Media literacy is not just about how to spot fake news, but also how to understand context around news stories and analyze them for the most true version. We’ll use examples of fairy tales to show how “common wisdom” sometimes isn’t right (for older students, we’ll ask whether Sleeping Beauty is cute or actually problematic!), and talk through what questions we can ask ourselves when confronted with a new piece of media.
This presentation aligns with media literacy common core standards.
Through lessons from my first book, Muhammad Najem, War Reporter, and my extensive journalism experience, we’ll explore the power of storytelling as a means of processing trauma and finding agency. With a focus on resilience, empathy, and personal empowerment, young people will learn to navigate their own narratives, gain insights from real-life experiences, and develop a sense of empathy towards marginalized communities affected by conflict. Discover the transformative potential of storytelling and embrace your voice as an agent of change in this inspiring workshop.
Using Muhammad Najem, War Reporter as a guide, I’ll walk students through the process of writing a graphic novel. Yes, writing! You might think of graphic novels as primarily art-based, but words bring these stories to life. I’ll show students the evolution of the graphic novel “script” from edits to sketches, inks, and colors. By the end of our workshop, students will have created a full four-panel comic from beginning to end, and have an opportunity to share with the group and get my feedback.
This workshop also satisfies all five requirements of the Girl Scouts Cadette Comic Artist Badge!
My engaging and activity-based school visits can be adapted for any age K-12 and are also appropriate for libraries, scout troops, and summer camps. Discounts available for underserved school districts. Popular programs include the following:
“Her presentation kept a room full of middle graders’ attention as she shared her personal experiences writing, but it was more than that. She was able to connect with the kids and took the time during the writing exercise to do it alongside them. The best part? She loves what she does and she genuinely likes kids. It shows, they can tell and absolutely respond to it.”
Isabelle, 9th grader, New Jersey
"I really was interested in what you were talking about. You are such an interesting person, and I would love to learn more about journalism."
Ava, high school teacher, New Jersey
"I just wanted to say that I loved your presentation this morning. My students really enjoyed your talk today too, they all talked about it afterwards. Definitely not boring, so thank you for that-- could have gone either way for a Friday morning assembly!"
Rev. Dr. Martin Ritchie, First Presbyterian Church at Tenafly
“What a great event you created this afternoon! Thank you so much from everyone at PCAT for allowing us to gain more insight into the incredible story of Muhammad Najem and his reporting and the part that you had to play in it all. It was so good to hear about the process of creating the book and all the personal dimensions to it as well as the political background and harsh realities.”
I’ll translate my experience as a journalist and writer into dynamic programming for your community.