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SJMC students racking up big wins in national broadcast competitions

Broadcast journalism students in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications have won major awards in two national competitions: the Hearst Journalism Awards and the Broadcast  Education Association Awards. 

Broadcast Education Association Awards

A team of reporting students took first place in this national competition for their TV News Short Feature investigating counterfeit bills in Columbia.  Finn Carlin, Kendall Smith and Justin Walsh created the feature in Andy Burns' Intermediate Reporting and Producing class and it later aired on Carolina Insider — a TV news cut-in that comes out of the Power Producing course. 

“Finn, Kendall and Justin did great work on this story in their Intermediate Reporting class," says senior instructor Laura Smith. "So, we picked it up in our Power Producing class and made sure it got to air, which makes it eligible for awards such as this."


The Hearst Journalism Awards

The School of Journalism and Mass Communications came in 10th place out of the schools and universities who entered the Intercollegiate Broadcast Competition. The rankings are based on the highest accumulated student points from two television and one audio competitions.  

Seniors Finn Carlin and Chloe Barlow helped the SJMC to the top 10 overall finish with the following individual entries:

Finn Carlin

Chloe Barlow

In their own words ...

Meet the award-winning students and hear what they have to say about their experiences at USC, their major and what's next up after graduation.

Finn Carlin

First place - BEA; 9th and 10th places - Hearst Awards

Growing up in a military family, I've been no stranger to monumental changes in my life. Every couple of years, it seemed as though we were packing up the house and jumping to another part of the East Coast while my father was rounding out his 25 years of service in the Air Force. What always remained consistent, though, was my admiration for local and network news, and how well those journalists could wrangle a compelling story together, no matter how boring it may have seemed on the surface.

After my dad's retirement from the Air Force, he became a captain for United Airlines, and my family made its last move to Charleston, SC. There, I found that where I had followed my family is also where I followed my before-undiscovered passion for broadcast journalism. The moment I set foot in my high school newsroom is the moment where, unknowingly, I had set forth on a now seven-year journey to improve my craft as a reporter, anchor and producer.

In my collegiate years, I have tirelessly worked to elevate both my skills and interest in the field, working a gamut of roles for both Student Gamecock Television and WUSC News, the student-led TV and radio networks of Garnet Media Group. After completing a myriad of TV and radio stories, constructing SGTV's first live nightly newscast, and heading all of the organization's programming, I then was privileged to amass numerous first and second place awards through Associated College Press, College Broadcasters, Inc., and the College Media Association, recognizing my work in student journalism on the national level.

This then led me to pursue production internships with Seacrest Studios in Charlotte and South Carolina Public Radio in Columbia, before additionally taking a part-time job as a newscast producer with WLTX, the CBS affiliate of the Midlands.

Following a year and a half with WLTX and a completed semester of Carolina News, I am now thrilled to say that I will be headed to Jacksonville after graduating to work as a news producer at Action News Jax, the CBS/FOX affiliate of Jacksonville and Northeast Florida. From there, I plan to focus my efforts on enhancing my skills as a producer, working to better my production talents as much as I can within the three years I'm there, and then continue following future opportunities along my path to pursue a (hopefully) long career in TV news.

Chloe Barlow

12th place - Hearst Awards

I'm originally from Connecticut, but I moved to Chapin, South Carolina, in high school. So, it's hard to say geographically where "home" is. If we follow the old adage "home is where the heart is," though, it's safe to say I found my home here in the J-school.

I've grown so much as both a journalist and a person in my past four years under the guidance of rock-solid mentors like Laura Smith and Eileen Waddell. It hasn't always been a walk in the park, but it's much easier when you know you have people in your corner.

I was a print major for three years before catching the "broadcast bug" and switching my concentration. In that time, I've been selected as an RTDNAC Scholar, served as a CIC Student Ambassador, landed a job as a part-time producer at WIS, and most recently been accepted into Columbia University to pursue a master's degree in documentary filmmaking.

I'm not sure what my future holds for me yet, but I do know that USC has given me the best possible foundation to build a lifetime of success. 


Kendall Smith

First place - BEA

I'm from Weddington, North Carolina, and am currently the team reporter and in-game host for the Charlotte Knights (AAA affiliate of the Chicago White Sox), the reporter and in-game host for the Charlotte Checkers (AHL- Florida Panthers), and a reporter and host for Gamecock Central on the On3 Network. 

A current senior studying journalism at the University of South Carolina, I began working in sports broadcasting at 16 years old covering all professional and collegiate sports in Charlotte, North Carolina.

In college, I have been the host of the ACC Men's Basketball Tournament and Baseball Tournament and covered two bowl games and a Final Four.

In my free time, you can find me teaching hot yoga classes or at the ice rink. A former competitive figure skater for fifteen years, I still love to skate and enjoy watching the Carolina Hurricanes play hockey.

Justin Walsh

First place - BEA

I'm originally from a small town in New Jersey called Scotch Plains. I fell in love with broadcasting and TV production when I was 14 years old and knew that it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. 

During my collegiate career as a journalist, I first started by getting involved in the on-campus student television station, Student Gamecock Television.  I'm so proud that in 2021 I won two CMA Pinnacle Awards: "Best Video Special Event Coverage" for our station's live coverage of USC's Student Government Runoff Election in which I co-anchored and co-produced. Also, that year I won Best Audio Newscast for the "In the Loop" podcast that I co-created with Finn Carlin. 

In my final semester at USC, I currently work as a news producer for WIS-TV News 10. I produce the weekend evening newscasts as well as the 10 o'clock news on Mondays and Wednesdays. 

I'm happy that once I graduate, I'll be joining WIS full time as a producer. This was the first station I started watching when I came to Columbia back in 2019, so to be joining them four years later as I enter the industry is pretty surreal to me. 

I'm so excited to see where the future takes me and I'm so proud to have won the BEA's Short Feature News reporting competition alongside two very talented journalists and very good friends of mine.


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