Who Is the Missouri Media Professor That Drove Away a Student Journalist?

By Mark Joyella 

A widely seen YouTube video appears to show an associate professor of communications at the University of Missouri harassing a student journalist–even calling out for “some muscle” to help drive the student away from the scene of a protest.

CNN identified the professor as Melissa Click, an assistant professor of mass media. “Hey, who wants to help me get this reporter out of here?” Click says in the video. “I need some muscle over here.”

Missouri, known for its strong journalism program, has been embroiled in a debate over racism on campus, leading to the departure of the university’s president Monday. The video, however, has sparked a second debate over press freedom at the school–with J-school faculty condemning the actions of Click and others:


Neither the school, nor Click have not responded to requests for comment. But here’s what else we’ve learned about Click:

  • She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. “Her research interests center on popular culture texts and audiences, particularly texts and audiences disdained in mainstream culture,” her bio reads. “Current research projects involve 50 Shades of Grey readers, the impact of social media in fans’ relationship with Lady Gaga, masculinity and male fans, messages about class and food in reality television programming, and messages about work in children’s television programs.”
  • In 2010, in a column for the University of Wisconsin Dept. of Communication Arts media blog, she wrote about “The Role of the Media in Times of Crisis.” Which is ironic given yesterday’s circumstances. “I really hate US television news,” she began. “I detest its lack of historical context and investigative journalism, and its drive for ratings through fantastical and voyeuristic stories.”
  • She also didn’t like ABC’s Muppets reboot, for that same blog in September she writes: “after watching the pilot, I won’t be watching The Muppets with my kids. I don’t agree with One Million Moms’ claim that the show is “perverted,” but I did find the humor to be a little too straightforwardly and immaturely adult, and I felt the characters were a bit more jaded and dysfunctional than I’d like them to be.”

Protestors have attempted to change their relationship with journalists today, with a “media welcome” message being circulated on campus: