Peggy Dillon

Professional Details

Title Professor
Department Media and Communication
Office Classroom Building 130
Phone 978.542.7078
Photo of Peggy Dillon

Recent and Upcoming Courses

MCO 100 Media in Our Lives
MCO 202 Writing for Media
MCO 273 Fundamentals of Journalism
MCO 350 Junior Career Seminar
MCO 499 Senior Portfolio
MCO 505 Internship in Media & Communication
MCO 512 Internship in Journalism

Professional Biography

Ph.D., Mass Communication, E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, Ohio University | 1997

Graduate Certificate, Women's Studies, Ohio University | 1997

M.S., Journalism, E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, Ohio University | 1994

B.A., Geography, Department of Geosciences, UMass Amherst | 1983

Professional Interests

Multimedia journalism, news and feature writing, fanzines, editing, adventure and outdoor journalism, media literacy, the financial viability of newspapers, publication layout and design, speechwriting, historical research and writing, and oral history.


Courses Taught at Salem State:

  • Media in Our Lives | MCO 100
  • Precision Writing in Communications | MCO 105
  • Introduction to Communications | MCO 201
  • Computer Production in Communications | MCO 205
  • Editing | MCO 209
  • Fundamentals of Journalism | MCO 273
  • Junior Career Seminar | MCO 350
  • Fundamentals of News Writing | MCO 370
  • News Reporting and Writing | MCO 371
  • Feature Writing | MCO 470
  • Public Affairs Reporting | MCO 471
  • Outdoor Journalism | MCO 495
  • Practicum in Print and Digital Journalism | MCO 501
  • Communications Portfolio Seminar | MCO 503
  • Travel and Study in Communications | MCO 508
  • Internship in Journalism | MCO 512
  • Journalism Portfolio | MCO 513

Editorial and Advisory Roles:

2015-19: Editor of Sextant: The Journal of Salem State University, the university’s multidisciplinary magazine that presents the research, scholarship, and creative activity of Salem State faculty, librarians, staff, and administrators

2008-15: Faculty Adviser to The Salem State Log, the student-run campus newspaper published in print every other week and online at; won Salem State's 2010 Adviser of the Year award

Selected Publications


“H. Adams Carter’s Editorship of The American Alpine Journal, 1960-1995,” Copyright 1997 by Margaret Mary Dillon, UMI Dissertation Services, #9807429, 244 pp.


Seeking the Greatest Good: The Public Welfare Foundation, Copyright 2000 by the Public Welfare Foundation, 159 pp. The book won the Gold Award in the Wilmer Shields Rich Awards Program for Excellence in Communications.

Book Reviews:

“Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process,” Literary Journalism Studies: The Journal of the International Association for Literary Journalism Studies; Volume 10, Issue 2, Fall 2018

“The Replacements: All Over But the Shouting—An Oral History,” The Oral History Review; Volume 44, Issue 2, Summer/Fall 2017

“The First We Can Remember: Colorado Pioneer Women Tell Their Stories,” The Oral History Review; Volume 43, Issue 2, Summer/Fall 2016

“On Time Delivery: The Dog Team Mail Carriers,” The Oral History Review; Volume 40, Issue 2, Summer/Fall 2013

“Scotland’s Land Girls: Breeches, Bombers and Backaches,” The Oral History Review; Volume 40, Issue 1, Winter/Spring 2013

“Just My Type: A Book About Fonts,” Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly; Volume 89, Number 4, Winter 2012

“Arctic Gardens: Voices From an Abundant Land,” The Oral History Review; Volume 39, Issue 1, Winter/Spring 2012

“Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other,” Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly; Volume 88, No. 4, Winter 2011

“Stories of Oprah: The Oprahfication of American Culture,” Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly; Volume 88, No. 2, Summer 2011

“Baychimo: Arctic Ghost Ship,” The Northern Review; Number 33, Spring 2011

“This Vanishing Land: A Woman’s Journey to the Canadian Arctic,” The Northern Review; Number 33, Spring 2011

“Crooked Road: The Story of the Alaska Highway,” The Oral History Review; Volume 37, Issue 2, Summer/Fall 2010

Adventure, Outdoor and Travel Articles:

“How to spend three warp-speed days in New York City,”; February 25, 2020

“Gloucester Gig Rowers compete at World Skiff Championships in Scotland,”; September 9, 2019

“A week solo in Dominica, the Caribbean’s ‘Nature Island,’”; April 20, 2019

“Six months after Hurricane Maria, Culebra is slowly coming back,” Wicked Local North of Boston publications; April 13, 2018

“What I Did on My Summer Vacation: A Communications Professor Heads to Scotland to Compete in the St. Ayles Skiff World Championship,” Salem Statement; Fall 2013

“From the Old Obs to Windswept,” Windswept: The Quarterly Bulletin of the Mount Washington Observatory; Volume 50, Number 1, Spring 2009

“Slamming Doors, Cries for Help: Skeptics and believers in the White Mountains encounter ghosts,” Appalachia: America’?s Longest-Running Journal of Mountaineering and Conservation; Winter/Spring 2009

“Life Among the Clouds: AMCers at the Mount Washington Observatory,” The Resuscitator; Spring 2006

“Of Rocks and Hard Places: Climbing Means Negotiating Sheer Fear,” Valley News; May 25, 1991


“The Protection and Advocacy Role Within the Center for Mental Health Services and the Role of Legal Advocacy in the Mental Health System.” Speech given by Bernard Arons, M.D., Director of the Center for Mental Health Services, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, at the National Association of Protection and Advocacy Systems’ CEO Training Meeting, Washington, DC; April 17, 2002

“Alice Evans: First Female President of the Society of American Bacteriologists.” Speech given by Rita R. Colwell, Ph.D., Director of the National Science Foundation, at the 99th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology (formerly the Society of American Bacteriologists), Chicago, IL; May 31, 1999. The speech was subsequently published as an article in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine 72 (1999), pp. 349-56.

Science Writing:

“Japan Promotes New Vision of R&D in Talk at AAAS,” Science magazine; September 28, 2001

Political Articles:

“Tsongas: Unknown No Longer” [co-authored coverage of 1992 New Hampshire Presidential primary election won by Democratic candidate Paul Tsongas], Valley News; February 19, 1992

“Harkin: Rethink Economy; Democratic Presidential Candidate Pans Reagonomics” [interview with 1992 Democratic Presidential primary candidate Tom Harkin], Valley News; November 16, 1991


“Master Carver Turns Stone Into Art: Washington National Cathedral Welcomes Artist’s Unspoken Ultimatum,” The Herald Journal, Logan, UT; July 26, 1995

“Jorma Kaukonen’s Organic Odyssey: With His Fur Peace Guitar Camp, the Longtime Blues Guitarist Passes the Torch to the Next Generation,” Southeast Ohio magazine; Winter 1994

Selected Presentations

Refereed Paper Presentations:

“The Bard of the Backcountry: How Louise Dickinson Rich Chronicled Living Off the Land in Maine’s North Woods in We Took to the Woods.” Presented at International Association for Literary Journalism Studies’ Eleventh International Conference for Literary Journalism Studies, Porto Alegre, Brazil; May 2016

“Participatory Journalism During Campus Crises.” Presented as part of panel titled “Best Practices in Participatory Journalism” at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication’s Annual Meeting, Montreal, Quebec; August 2014

“Organizational History as Cultural Mirror: How the Anniversary History of a Family-Owned Business Reflected Social, Regional and Demographic Change.” Presented as part of panel titled “Family and Community” at the British Oral History Society’s Annual Meeting, Sussex, England; July 2013

“Preparing for the Scientific Interview.” Presented as part of panel titled “Scientists in Difficult Times” at the Oral History Association’s Annual Meeting, Denver, CO; October 2011

“Creative Structure: Keeping Communications Students Engaged.” Presented at the New England Faculty Development Consortium’s Spring Conference, Westford, MA; May 2010

“The Role of the Beardmore South Field Camp in the History and Evolution of the Antarctic Treaty.” Presented at the History of International Spaces Workshop, Antarctic Treaty Summit: Science-Policy Interactions in International Governance, Washington, DC; December 2009

“One Luddite’s Journey: My Evolution from Analog to Digital Oral History.” Presented at the Oral History Association's Annual Meeting, Pittsburgh, PA; October 2008

“Close Cousins: Journalists, Oral Historians, and the Interdisciplinary Shaping of Subjects’ Voices.” Presented at the Oral History Association’s Annual Meeting, Anchorage, AK; October 1999

Invited Presentations:

Guest-lectured about media advocacy to graduate-level policy communication class in Animals and Public Policy Master’s Degree Program, Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, North Grafton, MA; January 2016, February 2017, January 2018 and February 2019

Moderated panel titled “News Literacy in an Age of Information Overload,” Salem State University; March 2018

Guest-lectured to Introduction to Public Policy class in Political Science department about fake news, Salem State University; October 2017

Organized and moderated panel titled “How to Recognize Disinformation and Fake News: Be a Media-Literate Advocate for Your Cause” as part of annual Earth Days Week, Salem State University; April 2017

Participated on panel titled “Trends and Changes in Journalism: How Will It Affect Your Newsroom?”, New England Newspaper & Press Association Annual Convention, Boston, MA; February 2017

Led roundtable discussion titled “Strategies for Facilitating Cross-Cultural Learning in the Classroom,” Pearls & Perils Annual Teaching Conference, Salem State University; May 2015

Spoke to Salem State audience as member of campus panel titled “How Can the Sensation-seeking U.S. Media Foster Peace?”; November 2013

Moderated 14 “News & Views” current events forums open to public, Wakefield Public Library, Wakefield, MA; September 2012 – April 2013

Moderated student panel titled “How Campus Leadership Positions Prepare Female SSU Students for Life After Graduation,” Annual Women’s Leadership Conference, Salem State University, Salem, MA; March 2012

Gave PowerPoint presentation titled “The Women’s Media Center: What It Is, Why It Affects You, and How You Can Get Involved,” Annual Women’s Leadership Conference, Salem State University, Salem, MA; March 2011

Participated in panel titled “Accuracy, Accuracy, Accuracy: How to Maintain and Leverage Your Newspaper’s Core Competitive Advantage,” New England Newspaper & Press Association Annual Convention, Boston, MA; February 2011

Was invited guest lecturer at master’s level class in Writing for Public Relations and Marketing, Harvard University Extension School, Cambridge, MA; February 2010

Gave presentation titled “Gusts, Ghosts, and Greenouts: Writing About Adventures in Antarctica, the White Mountains, and Other Far-Flung Places,” College of Arts and Sciences Open Forum, Salem State University, Salem, MA; February 2009

Chaired and participated in panel discussion titled “The Scientific Community,” Oral History Association’s Annual Meeting, Bethesda, MD; October 2003

Gave Keynote Address titled “An Oral History Odyssey: Interviewing Notable NIH Scientists,” Biomedical Research History Interest Group (BHRIG) Lecture Series, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD; April 2002

Presented slide show about 1985-86 work and travel experiences in Antarctica and New Zealand to:

  • Salem State University classes, Salem, MA; December 2008
  • Hospitality Public Charter High School classes, Washington, DC; December 2005 and 2006
  • Blue Ridge Section of American Alpine Club, Rosslyn, VA; September 2001
  • University of Massachusetts Geography Class, Amherst, MA; February 1987
  • Connecticut Chapter of Appalachian Mountain Club, Darien, CT; February 1987

Personal Interests

I am an avid hiker, kayaker, rower, gardener, and cross-country skier. I also make decorative and functional art, including quilts, painted furniture, needlepoint, braided rugs, and knitted clothing. Prior to becoming a writer and professor, I worked as a cook at the Beardmore South Field Camp in Antarctica, a weather observer atop Mount Washington in New Hampshire, a highway construction foreperson in Vermont, a bingo agent at Harrah’s Casino in Reno, and a hutmaster and hut crew member for the Appalachian Mountain Club in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. I have participated in the three World Skiff-Rowing Championships in Europe in 2013, 2016, and 2019.