About Me

I’m a journalism professor at California State University – Northridge. I’ve also worked as a staff writer at the Daily Press in Virginia and The Charlotte Observer in North Carolina. I’ve written for Real Change, Seattle’s homeless newspaper, and supervised a student collective producing content for Pacifica outlet KPFK’s “Indymedia On Air.”

My edited volume, “Citizen Journalism: Valuable, Useless or Dangerous,” was published in September 2012.

Among the places my photographs of protests and civil disobedience have been published are the books Moral Panics: The Social Construction of Deviance and From Act Up to the WTO: Urban Protest and Community Building in the Era of Globalization, along with the Washington Post Magazine. My photo of the  Shrine of Sayyide Ruqqaya in Damascus appears in a media station as part of the permanent exhibition “The World of Islam” at the Ethnological Museum in Berlin, Germany. My photo of a Damascus newsstand will be the cover for an Arabic textbook published by Georgetown University in June 2013.

I’ve taught journalism in Lebanon and in Ethiopia. I’ve studied township newspapers in Zimbabwe, produced a radio documentary about the media reform movement in Taiwan and done some reporting and research in Lebanon, where I was a Fulbright scholar in 2012. I was selected for a Berglund Fellowship for internet studies and a Poynter fellowship at Indiana University for journalism professors.

My research focuses on international news/participatory media such as YouTube, Flickr, blogs and social change.  My latest project started in Fall 2012 is the @PopUpNewsroom, a temporary, virtual newsroom for citizen and student journalists.

I have an MA and PhD from the University of Washington and my BA is from the University of Virginia founded by a guy named Thomas Jefferson who said,  “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”   (Um, he also said, “The man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them.”)  Go figure.

Contact me via  melissa.a.wall[at]csun.edu or this form or in the comments below:


10 thoughts on “About Me

  1. I am the coauthor of a book entitled “Moral Panics” & want to reproduce an image which I believe you own the copyright to. I found it at:

    Please tell me how I might ontain the right to reproduce this image.

    Thank you very much.

    Best wishes, Erich Goode

  2. I am sorry about what happened to Ehsa. However, unless you have been living in another planet in the past few years, you would have known that Iran is a police state. In light of the arrests made in the recent years, I can’t believe how you or Ehsa would not have anticipated this. A young girl going to streets of Tehran and asking about women’s rights!!! I hope she is released soon

  3. Dear Melissa,

    my name is Charlotte. I am a current intern for WTOP NEWS in Washington DC. We are doing a report on Esha’s arrestment.

    Therefore we would love to do a short interview with you, as her professor, and with students she studied with. As you may know journalism is a fast business, especially radio journalism.

    If you had time today for a short telephone interview would be great. I already contacted your secretary. I hope this reaches you first.

    My boss’ number: 202-895-5278. Please call.

    Thank you very much.


  4. To Melissa Wall,

    I am the producer and presenter of the program “Cooked Breakfast” on Australian radio station Radio Adelaide 101.5 FM. “Cooked Breakfast” is a program on which I introduce and then play radio documentaries. Is it possible for me to include your documentary about media reform in Taiwan on “Cooked Breakfast”?

  5. That’s a very interesting study about the popularity of the British media in the U.S. I am definitely one who has turned to the BBC and the Guardian for what I believe to be trustworthy information while simultaneously dodging the (increasingly popular) World Wrestling Entertainment-esque partisan warfare talk shows over here. The only thing that separates the cable news analysts from WWE performers is that the stunt wrestlers tend to have deeper voices and actually look like they can do damage if they fought each other. But, the words are scripted and the content is all fake. Isn’t it? Sounds familiar. The ratings are high and the parent companies make a lot of money from this spectacle though. Sounds familiar.

    You should check out “For Many, British is Better” in the British Journalism Review, Vol. 15, No. 3, 23-28 (2004).

    Actually, you may have been the one to recommend that to me. If that’s the case, never mind.


  6. Dear Melissa,

    Currently, I am writing PhD thesis on ” Ethiopian Journalists’ Identity”, based in the department of media and communications, University of Sydney, Australia. I found the article: the westertnizer, the developer and the azmari: discourses of Ethiopian journalism very useful and I’m wondering that I couldn’t find the article online. I would be very happy if you would be able to send me the article for my literature review. Please, attach to my email bdir3257@uni.sydney.edu.au. I have also posted on your blog page. Many thanks

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Best regards,
    Birhanu Olana Dirbaba
    PhD candidate

  7. Dear Professor,

    I am a blogger who deals with egregious written misrepresentations of Thailand and Southeast Asia, particularly about red light districts in urban Asia. Although the functions of “blogging” within a new media environment are becoming clearer, and the inherent responsibilities are strengthening as readership expands, I have two questions, if you have a moment to spare.

    One of your colleagues at CSUN, Professor Kenneth Ng in the economics department, runs a deplorable blog (www.bigbabykenny.com) that spreads all kinds of malicious and vile hatred about commercial sex in Asia, his enjoyment of sex tourism, brothels in Thailand, and the like. Last year, the national mainstream media reported extensively on his so-called blog. Recently, he has been impersonating the identities of other bloggers and writers, and misrepresenting material facts as being their own ideas and writing. Being familiar with blogging and journalism in the State of California, is this legal? While we know that it is not ethical, what kinds of standards within the public sphere does this legally breach, aside from good taste and decency?

    Secondly, and related to the first question, Professor Ng’s blog follows a format whereby he writes a nonsensical, often incorrect and thinly-researched main article, then uses multiple aliases to attack competing writers, disseminate homophobic and racist ideation, and discusses pedophilia openly. How does this method of writing fit into new paradigms of representation within a new media environment?

    Many thanks for your response.

    William Mahanakorn

  8. Hello Melissa,

    My name is Jon Kovach and I am the artitic director at Unity Productions. I wanted to be sure that you had the opportunity to support this suicide prevention piece, the US Premiere of NOTHING by Nic Balthazar:

    Thanks and best,
    Jon Kovach

  9. Hi Melissa,
    I am a freelance reporter and journalism student at Columbia Uni, currently working on a story about hyper-local, community based journalism.
    Would it be possible to interview you shortly for this story?
    Hoping to receive your reply soon because i am on a tight deadline and I think your input is very valuable for this report.
    Yermi Brenner

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