Date of Award

Winter 12-15-2015

Degree Type



School of Journalism and Mass Communications

Director of Thesis

Randy Covington

First Reader

Ron Aiken

Second Reader

Ron Aiken


Throughout my college experience at the University of South Carolina as a journalism major, I heard about one thing for four years – senior semester. Senior semester for journalism majors is a set number of classes the student must take his or her senior year, either the last or second to last semester before graduation. It includes four specific classes on reporting, producing, writing and web management. But there is a catch. The four classes do not meet for specific class periods. Students in senior semester meet Monday through Friday from 8:45am to 6:00pm, producing a 4:00pm newscast every day. For four years, journalism students at the University of South Carolina are taught that this senior semester is the absolute best possible training to prepare them for the future. They both look forward to and dread this final phase of their education. But again, they believe that this is the best education out there because that’s what they’ve been told. But is it? Is a senior semester, let alone USC’s senior semester, the best way to educate today’s budding journalists? Does this senior semester provide the real world experience students need in their first job to succeed? I asked these questions of myself, and then I took them into the local news outlet in Columbia and asked them of others. With my thesis project, I wanted to discover if the professors of the program; the past and current students and current employers of those students believe that senior semester is the ultimate answer to educating future journalists.

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© 2015, Victoria Black