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College of Information and Communications

Faculty and Staff

Laura K. Smith, Ph.D.

Title: Senior Instructor
Department: School of Journalism and Mass Communications
College of Information and Communications
Phone: 803-777-5232


B.S., Telecommunication, University of Florida
M.A., Mass Communication, University of Florida
Ph.D., Journalism, University of Texas at Austin


Laura Smith’s research interests focus on Academic Assessment as well as Journalism & Electronic Media in the 21st Century (with particular attention to multi-platform practices, diversity and localism in news, and convergence/media ownership consolidation).  As Assessment Coordinator for the SJMC, she helps collect and report data on student learning in our undergraduate programs.


Smith has 35 years of broadcast industry and university-level teaching experience — specializing in journalism and mass communications. Before teaching, she spent more than 12 years working in television, primarily local TV news. She teaches an array of classes for the SJMC, including Writing for Mass Communications, Podcasting, Introduction to Reporting, Intermediate Reporting, Power Producing (for TV news), Media Management, and occasionally teaches in our graduate program.


In 2023, Smith received the 2023 Edward L. Bliss Award for Distinguished Broadcast Education. In 2019, Smith won USC’s Garnet Apple Award for Teaching Innovation.

Recent Publications

Smith, L.K. & Brook, N. (2023).  Student Writing: Using assessment as a tool to standardize and improve upon key learning outcomes. Journal of Media Education, 14(3), 16-23.

Smith, L.K., Robinson, E. & Maye, C. (2022, July).  Improving assessment results: Experimenting with data collection methods in a Law & Ethics course. Journal of Media Education, 13(3), 19-24.

Smith, L.K. (2020, July). Assessment for people who hate statistics: Quantitative tools for the qualitative faculty (A Case Study).  Journal of Media Education, 11(3), 38-45.

Smith, L. (2009). Consolidation and news content: How broadcast ownership policy impacts local television news and the public interest. Journalism & Communication Monographs, 10, 369-453.

Smith, L. K. (2008). Race, ethnicity & student sources: Minority newsmakers in student-produced versus professional TV news stories. Howard Journal of Communications, 19(2), 182-199.


In 2021, Smith was elected by her peers from across the country to serve on the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication’s Standing Committee on Teaching. AEJMC’s mission is to promote the highest possible standards for journalism and mass communication education. For the 2022-2023 academic year, she served as Chair of the committee, as well as on AEJMC’s Board of Directors.  

She also served on the Board of Directors for the Radio Television Digital News Association of the Carolinas (RTDNAC). She regularly works with USC’s Center for Teaching Excellence.


Smith lives in Columbia with her husband and daughter. She and her family are known for traveling the country during the summer  camping, hiking, swimming and seeing the world. She is an avid college football fan, loves to sail and has traveled extensively throughout the Caribbean. 

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.