Greetings! My name is Melissa and I’m a journalist working for The Desert Sun in Palm Springs, California. I’m the business reporter, and I cover a range of issues like cannabis, real estate, development, and hospitality.
I love getting to know entrepreneurs and sharing their stories, uncovering interesting trends, watchdogging institutions and industry. I aim to write stories that inform consumers and taxpayers, and engage my fellow curious citizens who want to know more about where they live.
Previously, I worked with the kickass nonprofit Report for America as their social media and newsletter editor. Before that, I covered politics and government for the Associated Press out of their Phoenix bureau. I’ve also lived in Los Angeles where I wrote about civil litigation and judicial news for Law360, a paywalled news site for lawyers and law firms (I also sold wedding gowns, but that’s another story).
My reporting strengths include diving into complex issues, like unwieldy lawsuits, budget negotiations, and controversial legislation, and untangling them to find out what readers need to know. I’ve covered political campaigns from start to finish, filed breaking news from crime scenes, and explored stories in all kinds of places — from rural airfields to federal courtrooms, from the U.S.-Mexico border to highway construction sites. I’ve interviewed commuters pumping gas, voters casting ballots, and protestors raising their voices for justice.
No matter where my stories take me, I aim to tell stories about the intersection of government and 21st century American life, where it both collides and succeeds.
I’m also an experienced arts & culture writer who loves to geek out about performance venues, the songwriting process and streaming trends. I’ve interviewed musicians, visual artists and business owners. I took an interest in writing about the intersection of technology and music while freelancing for Forbes (a throwback to my undergrad days studying pop culture and music history).
Prior to moving to the West Coast, I spent four years covering government and politics in Pennsylvania. I worked at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, where I covered transportation and urban policy — plus state election cycles in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
I also tracked the run-up to the state legalizing medical marijuana with a series of stories about the grassroots lobbying efforts, largely led by the parents of sick children and other patients, and the science behind the plant.
Before exploring Pittsburgh, I covered the Pennsylvania legislature and Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration. There, I was a member of the Pennsylvania Legislative Correspondents Association, the nation’s oldest press corps — and I think I was the first-ever reporter to use Instagram from the press room!
While life has serendipitously brought me to the West Coast, I am a native of New York State. I attended journalism school at Syracuse University and spent the early years of my career at The Daily Messenger in Canandaigua, New York.