Anne Nelson is an author and lecturer in the fields of international affairs, media and human rights. As a journalist she covered the conflicts in El Salvador and Guatemala, and won the Livingston Award for best international reporting from the Philippines. She served as the director of the Committee to Protect Journalists. In 1995 she became the director the international program at the Columbia School of Journalism, where she created the first curriculum in human rights reporting.
Since 2003 Nelson has been teaching at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), where her classes and research explore how digital media can support the underserved populations of the world through public health, education and culture.
Nelson is a widely published author. Her 2009 book Red Orchestra describes the way media was used for both propaganda and resistance in Nazi Germany, and was published to wide acclaim in the U.S. and Germany. In October 2017, Simon & Schuster published her book Suzanne’s Children: A Daring Rescue in Nazi Paris, telling the story of a rescue network in Paris that saved hundreds of Jewish children from deportation. The Wall Street Journal praised the way the book “vividly dramatizes the stakes of acting morally in a time of brutality.” It was named a finalist in the National Jewish Book Awards.
Nelson’s most recent book is Shadow Network: Media, Money, and the Secret Hub of the Radical Right (Bloomsbury, Oct 2019). The book chronicles the astonishing history of political secrecy and illuminates the key figures and their tactics. She traces how the collapse of American local journalism laid the foundation for the Council for National Policy’s information war and listens in on the hardline broadcasting its members control. And she reveals how the group has collaborated with the Koch brothers to outfit Radical Right organizations with state-of-the-art apps and a shared pool of captured voter data – outmaneuvering the Democratic Party in a digital arms race whose result has yet to be decided.
Nelson’s play “The Guys,” based on her experiences following the September 11th attacks, has been produced in all fifty states, fifteen countries, and as a feature film. It has been widely used to fund local fire departments and related causes such as trauma counseling and burn treatment centers.
Nelson is a graduate of Yale University, a 2005 Guggenheim fellow, and a 2013 Bellagio Fellow. She is a fellow at the Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia, and a member of the New York Institute for the Humanities and the Council on Foreign Relations.