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College of Information and Communications

Faculty and Staff

Denise Ann McGill

Title: Associate Professor
Department: School of Journalism and Mass Communications
College of Information and Communications
Phone: 803-777-8707
Fax: 803-777-4103
Office: School of Journalism and Mass Communications
800 Sumter Street, Room 228
Columbia, SC 29208
Resources: McGill's Professional Website
McGill's Blog


B.J., Photojournalism, University of Missouri
M.A., Photography, Ohio University


Denise McGill grew up in Missouri and got in-state tuition to study at University of Missouri’s prestigious School of Journalism. She worked as a staff photographer for daily newspapers until earning a spot as an overseas correspondent for the award-winning magazine The Commission. She went on assignment to 25 countries in three years. When the magazine folded, she incorporated video into her skill set. She has been freelancing and teaching since then.


McGill is a photojournalist with a focus on migration, faith and multicultural issues. For her masters project she received a grant to photograph and write about Somali Bantu refugees as they travelled from Kenya to Chicago. The project was published in an eight-page article in Christianity Today magazine, circulation 100,000. 

McGill has traveled extensively for the project “Sacred Places,” examining modern landscape at Biblical sites in the Mediterranean Basin and Asia Minor. More recently, McGill has created videos about sustainable agriculture in the United States.

Funded Research

The Gullah Project: Multimedia and video documentary about Gullah/Geechee people of the Seacoast Islands. Expected release December 2014.
Received: Provost’s Creative & Performing Arts Grant Program. 2013, $20,000. 
Received: College of Mass Communications & Information Sciences, Faculty Development Stimulus Funds. 2012, $5,000. 

A Better Place: Video documentary about farmers who have used USDA funding and resources in South Carolina. Released November 2012. Co-PI with Dr. Robin Kloot.
Received: Natural Resources Conservation Service/U.S. Department of Agriculture. “Cultural and Natural Resources Outreach and Soils Education.” 2011, Three grants totaling $105,000. 

NRCS Recruiting: online video to entice high school students to study conservation in college. Created in collaboration with Dr. Robin Kloot. Released July 2010.
Received: Natural Resources Conservation Service/U.S. Department of Agriculture. “Use of Video Medium for Recruiting, Outreach, Training, & Education.” 2010, $4,878. 

Pasture Conservation Practices: online video series to educate farmers on new sustainable livestock grazing methods. Created in collaboration with Dr. Robin Kloot. Released December 2009.   

Received: Natural Resources Conservation Service/U.S. Department of Agriculture. “Natural Resource Technology Transfer for Cropland Conservation Systems” 2009, $1,500.


At the University of South Carolina, McGill teaches photography, video and Introduction to Visual Communications to undergraduate students. She often takes students on outings to practice their photography in the field. She also has interests in teaching business practices and religion in the news.

McGill also teaches seminars across the country in the areas of photojournalism and visual communications. She uses a no-nonsense approach with emphasis on practical applications. In 2009 she received the Beckman Stewart Award for Excellence in Academia, a national honor in the photojournalism industry.

Recent Publications

 McGill, D., curator. (2013). Portrait of South Carolina.  by Aaron, J. and Walker, L.  Exhibited throughout South Carolina. 

 Kloot, R. & McGill, D. (2012, Nov.). A better place: St. Helena Island, South Carolina

Kloot, R. & McGill, D. (2011, July 11). Soil stories: A journey beneath the soil’s surface. University of South Carolina Earth Science & Resources Institute.

Kloot, R. & McGill, D. (2011, Jan.). Wildlife habitat for good. University of South Carolina Earth Science & Resources Institute. 

McGill, D. (2008, Oct. 1-31). Priceless souls. Davis Art Gallery, Stephens College. Columbia, Mo.


Founder and advisor, USC Student Chapter of the National Press Photographers Association, University of South Carolina Student Chapter 

Member, South Carolina News Photographers Association

Leadership committee member, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication's Visual Communication Division

Former national secretary, National Press Photographers Association (NPPA)


McGill enjoys kayaking and swimming. Her guilty pleasure is making cat videos.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.