Melissa Isaacson is an award-winning journalist and author whose career has spanned the sports world and whose work has consistently endeared her to her readers.
A frequent public speaker, Isaacson is currently on the faculty of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism teaching undergraduate and graduate communications programs.
Isaacson was a columnist and feature writer for ESPN.com, espnW.com, and ESPNChicago.com until 2017. She was part of ESPN’s international digital team coverage of Wimbledon, the US Open, the Australian Open and the Olympics.
Prior to ESPN, Isaacson was the Chicago Tribune’s principal beat writer for the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls during their championship years of the early 90s and later the Chicago Bears for seven seasons. Isaacson was also one of the paper’s feature writers and columnists over her 19 years at the Tribune.
Isaacson has covered virtually every major sporting event, including the Summer and Winter Olympic Games, more than a dozen Super Bowls, the Final Four, college bowl games, Wimbledon and U.S. Open tennis and the British Open. She was part of Tribune’s coverage for the White Sox World Series run in 2005, as well as the Cubs’ playoffs in 2003, ’07 and ’08, and for ESPN, the Blackhawks Stanley Cup runs in 2010 and 2013.
Isaacson began her career at Florida Today in Cocoa, Florida in 1983, where she was the paper’s preps writer and later covered the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before moving on to USA Today and the Orlando Sentinel, where she covered Florida State University football and basketball and was the paper’s tennis writer and occasional columnist.
During the 80s, Isaacson was a frequent winner in all three categories – columns, feature writing and investigative reporting — of the Associated Press Sports Editors awards. Among her honors at the Tribune; the Red Smith Award for Excellence in Sports Journalism and the Tribune Beck Award for Outstanding Performance.
Isaacson’s Tribune Magazine piece entitled: “Fade to Black – Something’s not right with Mom . . . and now, Dad,” won the Peter Lisagor Award for top feature story of 2008, given by the Chicago Headline Club.
In March of 2009, Triumph Books released her biography, “Sweet Lou – Lou Piniella: A Life in Baseball.” Isaacson is also the author of “Transition Game – An inside look at life with the Chicago Bulls,” written in 1994.
Isaacson was born in Chicago and was a member of the 1979 girls state championship basketball team for Skokie’s Niles West High School. She graduated from the University of Iowa in 1983 with a BA in Journalism.
Isaacson lives in the Chicago area, with her husband Rick. They have two children, Amanda and Alec.
To contact Melissa, email STATE@melissaisaacson.com