Congratulations to Melissa Cassutt, deputy editor of the JH News & Guide, for her recent win in the Media Category at the Wyoming Woman of Distinction Awards!
Melissa recognizes how much words matter. She is committed to using them effectively. In doing so, she has changed the ways in which women are represented in Wyoming's print media.
Co-founder Jen Simon nominated Melissa for the award; here is what she had to say:
"Melissa Cassutt is a stellar journalist at a time when local journalism is more important than ever and journalists have more challenges than ever to deliver the news. In a state like Wyoming, our local newspapers play a critical and essential role in informing the public, shedding light on our communities, and lifting up the good that is happening all around us. We're fortunate to have a journalist like Melissa who has dedicated herself and her skills to making this happen and working to improve the medium every day.
She has championed national causes on a local level and made it possible for those of us in small Wyoming communities to understand how we're being affected here at home. She did a long-form piece on a local woman in need of a kidney transplant, eventually turning it into a multi-part series and being granted permission by the woman and her family to follow their journey to find the organ, receive the transplant and recover from the surgery. Melissa's reporting revealed so much not just about this specific woman's journey and the people who supported her but also about the inner workings of the healthcare system.
She is an award-winning journalist having been recognized nationally for her long-form writing and special sections at the Jackson Hole News & Guide where she has worked her way up to become the Deputy Editor.
Her writing has been recognized with multiple awards: from the Wyoming Press Association, the National Newspaper Association, and the Local Media Association.
She sought additional training to expand the scope of her writing and is certified by the Solutions Journalism Network. Her writing offers a constructive path forward for readers. At the same time, she has been sought out by other publications and national groups for her expertise in local journalism. She has been a featured panelist at conferences from AZ to NYC and throughout Wyoming speaking to colleagues in the field.
In addition to all the ways listed above, Melissa is also a member of the Society of Professional Journalists--a national organization dedicated to furthering the field of journalism - which has chapters in most states. Unfortunately, due to Wyoming's geographic challenges and the turnover in ownership at many (formerly) local papers, Wyoming's chapter had disappeared. We did not have a chapter in Wyoming--until Melissa reached out, connected with journalists around the state, and took it upon herself to work with the Society of Professional Journalists to get SPJ-WY up and running. She is now the chair of the Wyoming Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists working closely with her colleague at another paper who is the vice chair.
Her writing has shed light on numerous issues facing our community and our state, but even more than that, she is dedicated to taking a deeper dive into issues and revealing the essential truths about our goodness and humanity."