Melissa Chessher has more than 20 years of experience in the magazine field as both a writer and an editor. She serves as the chair of the magazine, news and digital journalism department and oversaw the merger of the former newspaper and online journalism and magazine departments. She also serves as the director of the Newhouse Graduate Newspaper Fellowship, the school’s participation in the Pulitzer Center’s Campus Consortium and as a member of the Renée Crown University Honors Program.
In 2016, Chessher was chosen as one of Folio magazine’s Top Women in Media. She worked on the launch of Real Simple, the largest magazine launch in Time Inc. history, and Gusto, a healthy living magazine for Latin American women. She has written for more than a dozen national consumer publications, including Self, Health, Glamour, Allure, Marie Claire, Fitness, Men's Health and Parents magazines. Her work covers a wide range of topics—from travel narratives that explore Tahiti, Scotland, Mexico and Italy to the neuroscience of snacking, the architecture of Zaha Hadid and the long-term health consequences of sexual-assault survivors. A special report for Self on the workplace challenges faced by women undergoing breast cancer treatment was part of a package that earned a National Magazine Award for personal service.
Chessher serves as the faculty adviser for five campus publications and earned the Newhouse School’s Senior Class Award for Teaching Excellence in 2006. She frequently teaches courses devoted to magazine article writing and the creation of multimedia projects. Student work for these classes has earned significant, national awards from Hearst, Broadcast Educators Association, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. In the past four years she has created industry partnerships with Time, LinkedIn, Bustle Media Group and Insider Inc. to diversify the industry through the creation of fellowships for students of color.