Strategic Communications

The Strategic Communications Department collaborates with partners across the university to tell Mason’s story internally and externally.

Our team of writers and editors works with leadership, faculty, staff, students and community partners to align the university around core themes and messages and spotlight our success through news stories, features and other forms of communication. We share those stories through online and print publications, as well as through media outreach. The team also assists leadership with university-wide communication, presidential communication and crisis communication.

If you have a question about a story on the website, please reach out to the writer. If you have a general media inquiry or a question about the university, please email​

Melanie Balog - Executive Director of News and Content

Photo of Melanie Balog

Melanie Balog is the Director of News and Content. She supervises the communications officers, oversees content for the Newsdesk and The George, and works with media to tell Mason’s story externally. She came to Mason in September 2014 after more than 18 years as a newspaper reporter, columnist, and editor, including at the Northwest Herald newspaper in suburban Chicago and the Charleston, S.C.-based Post and Courier newspaper.​​

Phone: 703-993-8785​


Damian Cristodero - Director of Communications Projects and Multimedia

Photo of Damian Cristodero

Damian Cristodero is the Director of Communications Projects and Multimedia. He produces Mason's Access to Excellence podcast, writes video scripts and oversees video projects, and supervises our communications interns. He also works closely with media to help tell Mason’s story externally. A graduate of Hofstra University, he joined Mason in 2015 after a long career as an award-winning sportswriter for organizations including the Tampa Bay Times (formerly the St. Petersburg Times) in Florida, the Gannett News Service and Newsday in New York.

Phone: 703-993-9118


John Hollis - Media Relations Manager

A photo of John Hollis

John Hollis is a Media Relations Manager. He joined Mason in April 2017 and comes with 16 years of daily newspaper experience, including nearly 10 at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and a correspondent stint with Time Magazine. He is the author of an upcoming novel chronicling the life and tragic death in Vietnam of his wife’s uncle, U.S. Marine Medal of Honor recipient (posthumous) Sgt. Rodney M. Davis.​

Phone: 703-993-8781


Colleen Kearney Rich – Managing Editor and Senior Writer

Colleen Kearney Rich is the managing editor of Mason Spirit magazine and Mason Momentum, the university’s quarterly research newsletter. She joined Mason in 1988 and has held a variety of jobs on campus over the three decades. In addition to a journalism degree from Virginia Commonwealth University, she has an MFA in Creative Writing from Mason and helped found the feminist literary journal So To Speak while she was a graduate student.

Phone: 703-993-8805


Preston Williams - Presidential Communications Manager

Preston Williams headshot

Preston Williams is the Presidential Communications Manager. He works with University officials on internal and external communications and serves as a liaison between the President’s Office and the Office of Strategic Communications. He joined Mason in 2013 as a Communications Officer. He previously worked for 15 years as a staff writer at The Washington Post and, prior to that, wrote for other newspapers in the Washington, D.C. suburbs.

Phone: 703-993-9376