Engaging communities with poignant stories and impactful programming

Speaking with New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie

  • Harvard Humanitarian Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
  • Yale Club, New York City
  • University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
  • Politics and Prose Bookstore, Washington, D.C.
  • Many K12 schools, churches, and community centers

Beyond my current position as an adjunct professor teaching undergraduate journalism and new media courses at LIM College in New York City, I’ve also been invited to speak to the following groups:

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.

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. I’ve created several workshops for K12 students. I’m also happy to work with you to create a custom workshop for your students.

Let’s equip students with this essential skill.

Media literacy is foundational for modern democracy.

Offerings for Schools

Focusing on the story behind Muhammad Najem, War Reporter, I’ll introduce young readers to Muhammad through his original videos when he was 13 years old. We follow the story of how I met him and explore his incredible bravery in reporting on Syria. I also show students how we wrote our book together. This workshop features behind-the-scenes videos and drafts of the graphic novel, and often includes a special video message from Muhammad!

Muhammad Najem and the Story of Syria

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. My goal is to inspire them to create their own graphic novel.

This talk is based in part on this popular Substack post.

Do you want your students to have the chance to experience the graphic novel process themselves? This talk can be done as a workshop or include a workshop add-on in which I walk students through writing the first page of the graphic novel from scratch and/or provide feedback on a few pages of their original graphic novels.

Inside the Wonderful World of Graphic Novels

This presentation introduces students to journalism concepts, with examples from Muhammad Najem, War Reporter, and my own career as an Emmy-nominated journalist including stories from my reporting in Ukraine and in local news. This presentation can touch on media literacy concepts, including what is “fake news” and how to spot it, and how to be an informed news consumer. This can complement the media literacy standard recently added to the Common Core standards.

Journey through Journalism can be tailored to teachers and parents as a development activity to discuss how to teach media literacy and journalism, even to younger students.

This talk has an option to add on a workshop for your school’s newspaper, yearbook, TV station, or journalism class. I can walk students through the creation of a new piece so that they walk out with a piece of journalism, or I can provide feedback on some of their existing projects.

Journey through 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!"

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." 

From Teachers and Students on a Media Literacy School Visit

  • My books Muhammad Najem: War Reporter and 24 Hours in Charlottesville
  • The process of co-authoring a graphic memoir with Muhammad Najem 
  • The power of journalism and the changing landscape of media literacy

Sample offerings include talks about:

I speak to adult audiences at bookstores, retirement centers, churches - anywhere community gathers to gain a deeper understanding of contemporary journalism and appreciate compelling, people-centered stories. 

Offerings for Adult Audiences

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.”

From an Event Organizer for a Book Talk

contact me

I’ll translate my experience as a journalist and writer into dynamic programming for your community.

For multi-hour school visits or book festivals, please reach out to my speaking agent, Christie Hinrichs at Authors OutLoud, at christie@authorsunbound.com.

For all other speaking engagements, including podcasts, you can reach out to me directly!

Let's work together.

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