Melissa Chessher


Professor and Belo Foundation Distinguished Chair in Journalism




Melissa Chessher possesses more than 20 years of experience in the magazine field as both a writer and an editor. 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 writing covers a wide range of topics — from travel narratives to deeply reported health features, personal essays and culture articles on food, wine, art and architecture. A special report for Self magazine 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 from the American Society of Magazine Editors. In 2016, Folio magazine named Chessher one of its Top Women in Media.

Before joining SMU, Chessher served as a chair, professor and interim associate dean at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. At SU, she earned several teaching awards, including the Newhouse School’s Senior Class Award for Teaching Excellence, the Empire State Scholastic Press Association’s Advisor of the Year and the Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professorship for Teaching Excellence, the university’s highest teaching honor. She frequently teaches courses devoted to magazine article writing and to the creation of multimedia projects. Articles, websites and podcasts created in these classes have earned students national awards from Hearst, Broadcast Educators Association, the Online News Association, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.