Nora
Emmy-nominated Journalist
Graphic Novel Author
Travels from: Brooklyn, New York

“Najem and Neus ground this gripping narrative, told with great immediacy, in the teen’s close-knit family.”—Horn Book, starred review

Nora Neus is an Emmy-nominated producer, author, and freelance journalist with bylines in CNN, Teen Vogue, VICE News, POLITICO Magazine, The Washington Post, and more. Her multidisciplinary work is focused on some of our world’s most challenging issues.

Since she was a kid, Nora has understood journalism as critical for creating a more just world.

She wrote her first hard-hitting piece on the family computer: “Local boy throws corn at sister.” (Yes, she was the sister.) Her work now spans television news, documentary filmmaking, graphic novels, non-fiction, and podcasts. All of her people-centered storytelling aims to amplify marginalized voices and motivate change.

Nora’s passion for ethical journalism as a critical component of democracy has taken her from local news in Charlottesville, Virginia to six years at CNN including field producing in Ukraine at the start of the 2022 conflict with Russia. Now she’s continuing her work as a freelance journalist, producer, and writer to reach adult and young people through national publications, books, and speaking engagements.

She explores challenging issues through storytelling and a trauma-informed lens because, ultimately, her work is about hope. Hope for a more just world.

Nora's Featured Titles

24 Hours in Charlottesville: An Oral History of the Stand Against White Supremacy

Beacon Press |
Nonfiction

A gripping oral history of the white nationalist riots that shook the nation and signaled the arrival of a galvanizing new era, giving unprecedented voice to those who fought back.

On August 11 and 12, 2017, armed neo-Nazi demonstrators descended on the University of Virginia campus and downtown Charlottesville. When they assaulted antiracist counterprotesters, the police failed to intervene, and events culminated in the murder of counterprotestor Heather Heyer.

In this book, Emmy-nominated CNN journalist and former Charlottesville resident Nora Neus—who was present that fateful weekend—crafts an extraordinary account from the voices of the students, faith leaders, politicians, and community members who were there. Through a vivid collage of original interviews, new statements from Charlottesville mayor Mike Signer and Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, social media posts, court testimony, and government reports, this book portrays the arrival of white supremacist demonstrators, the interfaith service held in response, the tiki torch march on the university campus, the protests and counterprotests in downtown Charlottesville the next day, and the deadly car attack. 24 Hours in Charlottesville will also feature never-before-disclosed information from activists and city government leaders, including Charlottesville mayor Mike Signer.

Muhammad Najem, War Reporter: How One Boy Put the Spotlight on Syria

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers |
Graphic Memoir

A teenage boy risks his life to tell the truth in this gripping graphic memoir by youth activist Muhammad Najem and CNN producer Nora Neus. 

“A story of journalism at its most inspiring, its most heartbreaking, its most essential. Muhammad is a reporter who brings hope to a damaged world.”
—John Berman, CNN anchor
“A powerful true story that demonstrates the power of one young person determined to change the world. Everyone should read this phenomenal book.” —Victoria Jamieson, coauthor of When Stars Are Scattered
“What an amazing story this is! One family’s struggle for survival in the chaos of Syria, and one boy’s courageous decision to risk his life to tell the story. This graphic memoir is inspiring and exciting, powerful and very poignant. I loved it!” —Anderson Cooper
Muhammad Najem was only eight years old when the war in Syria began. He was thirteen when his beloved Baba, his father, was killed in a bombing while praying. By fifteen, Muhammad didn’t want to hide anymore—he wanted to act. He was determined to reveal what families like his were enduring in Syria: bombings by their own government and days hiding in dark underground shelters.

Armed with the camera on his phone and the support of his family, he started reporting on the war using social media. He interviewed other kids like him to show what they hope for and dream about. More than anything, he did it to show that Syrian kids like his toddler brother and infant sister, are just like kids in any other country. Despite unimaginable loss, Muhammad was always determined to document the humanity of the Syrian people. Eventually, the world took notice.

This tenderly illustrated graphic memoir is told by Muhammad himself along with CNN producer Nora Neus, who helped break Muhammad’s story and bring his family’s plight to an international audience.

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Processing Trauma Through Storytelling: Empowering Young Readers

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.

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Media Literacy: Empowering Democracy through Critical Thinking

Through lessons from my first book, Muhammad Najem, War Reporter, and my extensive journalism experience, 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.

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Professional Development: Teaching Media Literacy

In this presentation, I’ll speak directly to teachers, administrators, and parents about how they can teach and reinforce media literacy skills with their students and kids. We’ll talk through answers to common (hard!) questions from students, how to teach students to evaluate context around news stories, and perhaps most importantly, how to re-instill trust in solid journalism as students are constantly bombarded with cries of fake news. We’ll also talk about how to align your lessons with new media literacy common core standards.

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Journalism Simulation Lab (Analytical Writing Unit)

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.

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Graphic Novel 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 the first page of their own graphic novel and have an opportunity to share with the group and get my feedback.

Nora’s Newsletter | Substack

Nora’s Reporting

Book Club Guide: Muhammed Najem

Nora’s Resources Link

Nora’s Press Link

How to Write a Graphic Novel: A Collaborative Process

Honors, Awards & Recognition

Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
CNN | Emmy-nominated Producer and Journalist
King’s College | Master of War Studies
University of Virginia | Master of Public Policy

Media Kit

By clicking the link below you will be directed to a Google Docs Folder
where you can download author photos and cover images.

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