Before moving to Oxford, Salla worked for the Institute for War and Peace Reporting in Tbilisi, Georgia, where she ran an EU-funded project called Cross Caucasus Journalism Network Project. The aim was this project is to bring together and train journalists from all countries and unrecognised territories of South and North Caucasus, where ethno-political conflicts are a part of everyday life as demonstrated by the tragic Russo Georgian war of August 2008. Salla has a Master's degree in journalism and mass communication from University of Tampere, Finland, and she has also studied journalism in Moscow State University and Polish language at the University of Warsaw. In the 1990's, she spent a lot of time in Russian Carelia, working for the Finnish language media there and training future journalists at the Faculty of Finnish Language of Petrozavodsk State University. In 1999, she spent six months in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, working for a Finnish newspaper there. Salla's journalistic career started as a reporter in numerous newspapers in Finland, but since 2002 she has spent more time outside of Finland working on different media development organisations in Central Asia and the Caucasus. Before starting with IWPR, Salla worked for the International Federation of Journalists, the OSCE and International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX).