Melissa J. Gismondi

Writer & Editor


Melissa uses her training as a historian to inform her analysis of contemporary issues. She has over seven years of experience writing and editing digital and print content for diverse audiences.

Melissa currently writes and edits digital content for BackStory Radio, a nationally-syndicated public radio show and podcast that looks at the history behind the headlines. She has been published by various platforms, including The Walrus, The Toronto Star, The National Post, NOW Magazine, Maclean's, and U.S. News.

The Walrus
Why Media Obsession With Male Charisma Has to Stop

Recommended & Related J agmeet Singh's name has become nearly synonymous with the word charisma. After he became the NDP's leader earlier this month, the National Post declarded that the "NDP aims to fight fire with young charismatic Jagmeet Singh as leader." Vice News attested that "Jagmeet Singh invented charisma."

NOW Magazine
Can I sleep with my prof?

Sexual assault has become a major conversation on campuses. But as administrators grapple with high-profile cases at York, UBC and the University of Victoria, another related issue is surfacing. Can students who engage in sexual or romantic relationships with their professors avoid being exploited?

NOW Magazine
You can now go to college for cannabis production in Ontario

Many challenges exist for young professionals hoping to make it in Canada's booming cannabis industry: industry gatekeepers with the inside track and the lack of a clear professional path are two biggies. But "The main one is breaking the stereotype of the hippie stoner just trying to grow some dope," explains Denzil Rose, a second-year Greenhouse Technologies student at Niagara College.

NOW Magazine
What students want from Canada's pot legalization plan

This past spring, the Liberals introduced legislation to legalize marijuana for recreational use. It was welcome news for many university and college students, since Statistics Canada found that 33 per cent of 18-to-24-year-olds used marijuana in 2012. Most universities and colleges aren't commenting on how legalization of recreational pot use next July might impact campuses.

The Walrus
When It Comes to White Supremacy, Historians Can't Stand on the Sidelines

Recommended & Related I n an impromptu press conference about the white supremacist riots that erupted this month in Charlottesville, Virginia, President Donald Trump argued that removing statues of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson was a slippery slope. "I wonder, is it George Washington next week and is it Thomas Jefferson the week after?

The Conversation
Quiet Canadian, ugly American: Does racism differ north of the border?

In the aftermath of Charlottesville, it's worth asking: Are Canadians really less racist than Americans? A recent issue of Rolling Stone magazine - with a photo of a smiling Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the cover - asks: "Why can't he be our president?"
Don't let Saturday's violence define Americans or their history | Toronto Star

I moved to Charlottesville, Virginia several years ago to get my doctorate in American history at the University of Virginia. Telling family and friends back home in Canada that I'd done so often elicited a particular response. The South, they'd ask, somewhat incredulously, is it racist? Can people carry guns?

NOW Magazine
Does Canada need mandatory voting laws?

After promising that 2015 would be the last election conducted under the first-past-the-post system, a major plank of Justin Trudeau's campaign, the Liberal government is facing harsh criticism over its response to a committee's findings on electoral reform. Instead of introducing legislation, the feds have launched an online survey asking Canadians "to join the national conversation on electoral reform."