Melanie Hicken

Melanie Hicken

About Me

Rumor has it my university's chancellor once called me a muckraker.

I am drawn to journalism's ability to bring about change and keep business and government officials honest.

My career goals also stem from an innate curiosity -- the love of observing and connecting with people.

Throughout my time as a student and professional journalist, I have been curious and open-minded about how journalism is changing while not forgetting the fundamentals. I tend to view the industry's evolution with optimism about all of the opportunities it brings.


  • Regional finalist, Society of Professional Journalists 2006 Mark of Excellence Awards for Breaking News Reporting.
  • National finalist , SPJ 2007 Mark of Excellence Awards for In-depth Reporting. 
  • National finalist, 2008 Hearst Journalism Awards for Profile Writing.
  • Seventh place, 2009 Hearst Journalism Awards for Spot News
  • recipient of the SU Founders Scholarship and the SU Remembrance Scholarship, which honors the 35 SU students lost on Pan Am 103.
  • recipient of the 2009 Henry J. Wolff prize for Newhouse senior deemed most proficient in journalism.
  • recipient of the Randy Wicks First Amendment Scholarship.
  • member of the Society of Professional Journalists.


  • Experienced in creating multimedia, including audio and video slide shows.
  • Basic understanding of HTML.
  • Experienced in posting content to Web sites
  • Proficient in Adobe Design Suite, Soundslides, Audacity and Garage Band.
  • Experience with federal and state open records laws.

Work History

Work History
May 2009 - Present

Glendale City Hall reporter

Los Angeles Times Community News
  • Covers all aspects of Glendale City Hall for the Glendale News-Press, Burbank Leader, La Canada Valley Sun and the Los Angeles Times. With a population of about 200,000, Glendale is the third largest city in Los Angeles County.
  • Reports on La Crescenta, an unincorporated portion of Los Angeles County, including county government, the local town council and two local water districts.
  • Meets two daily deadlines and contributes to news blog "The 818 Now."
  • Writes detailed explanatory and investigative pieces.
  • Reports on regional breaking news including the 2009 Station fire and its aftermath, the 2010 La Canada mudslides that damaged dozens of homes and a Glendale resident who faked her kidnapping.
Aug 2008 - May 2009

website moderator

  • As student assistant to professor Charlotte Grimes, Knight Chair in Political Reporting, principal duties included updating, maintaining and editing for Democracywise, a multimedia news website, Democracywise. 
  • The website is a special project of the Knight Chair that features candidate bios, basic voting information and student work on local and national politics.
  • Also worked as a Democracywise reporter during a fall 2007 political reporting class. Covered Tom Buckel's local County Legislature campaign from September through Election Day.
Aug 2005 - Mar 2009

assorted positions

The Daily Orange
  • Worked as staff writer, assistant copy editor, assistant news editor, news editor and special projects editor for the publication, the daily independent student newspaper at Syracuse University.
  • Had 170 bylines, including coverage of Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts's on campus speech, campus coverage of the 2008 presidential election and a series of investigative pieces on a failing academic integrity policy.
  • Aggressively covered the university administration with articles on the renewal of Chancellor Nancy Cantor's contract before a required review of faculty and student opinions, the mysterious firing of key administrators and the forced retirement of a longtime administrative dean in lieu of signing a confidentiality agreement.
  • As special projects editor, organized campus coverage of the 2008 presidential election.
Jun 2008 - Aug 2008

reporting intern

The Orange County Register
  • Reported breaking news, enterprise and feature stories as beat writer for cities of Garden Grove and Westminster, cities with populations of and 174,000 and 88,000 respectively.
Jun 2007 - Aug 2007

intern business reporter

The Washington Times
  • Placed in internship through Institute of Political Journalism at Georgetown University, which included evening classes in media ethics and economics.
  • Wrote daily and enterprise business news stories and weekly profiles of local business leaders.
May 2006 - Aug 2006

reporting intern

The Signal
  • Worked as general assignment reporter.
  • Filed weekly crime logs.


Aug 2005 - May 2009

bachelor of arts

Syracuse University
  • Was dually enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.
  • Graduated summa cum laude.
  • One of seven Class of 2009 Newhouse Scholars,a designation which honors academic and journalistic excellence.
  • Completed a senior Distinction in History thesis titled "Election 2008: A Perfect Storm for Millenials," which focused on the the intersection of the Millennial Generation, the 2008 election and the new media use throughout the campaign.