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Alumni Spotlight: Liz McCarthy

By Justin Brouckaert, scholastic media assistant
Posted October 24, 2016


Liz McCarthy never had any doubt that she’d make a career in the field of journalism. Her main concern was that she couldn’t get there soon enough.

“My mom makes fun of me because when I was eight years old, I used to make my own newspapers. I had all my friends write stories, and then I would type it up,” McCarthy said. “I think I probably always knew I wanted to do something in that realm.”

After graduating from the University of South Carolina with a journalism degree in 2008, McCarthy worked for the Student Press Law Center, Newsweek and Bloomberg before returning home in 2012. She’s now the marketing and communications manager for the Darla Moore School of Business, where she has her hand in everything from social media platforms and website content to alumni publications, marketing collateral and mentor programs.

One of McCarthy’s professors at USC once told her that she should look for a job where she was free to put all of her skills to use: writing, photography, video and social media. McCarthy took that advice to heart.

“I came back to USC because I found a job where I could do everything, where I could write and take photos and think strategically and do social media,” she said.

McCarthy said the talents she exercises daily at USC are the same ones she developed through SCSPA and SIPA.

“What I like most is that I get to use the skills I became passionate about back in middle school,” she said. “I get to use those today in a really different way.”

McCarthy began attending SCSPA and SIPA events her freshman year at Lugoff-Elgin High School. She attended throughout high school as she worked on her school’s newspaper staff.

Because of prerequisite requirements, McCarthy couldn’t take any journalism courses her first semester at USC. Once again, she was impatient to get started.

“I felt like I was already a journalism student at USC, like I’d been there all along because I’d gone to all these programs,” McCarthy said. “I learned so much through SCSPA, SIPA, CJI, all of them. I was so prepared.”

In addition to working as a copy desk chief at Garnet & Black, McCarthy went on to take the helm at the Daily Gamecock.

“I know I wouldn’t have the career that I have if I didn’t do that,” McCarthy said. “I tell any student that I come into contact with that you have to do student media. You just learn so much.”

McCarthy has given back to scholastic media by teaching classes for SCSPA. Her most recent course was on social media.

 “Generation to generation, younger kids keep coming through, and you kind of feed it back into the community,” McCarthy said. “It’s always nice to see those kids, and I know at some point they’ll be doing the same thing, because they love it.”

Her advice to young people pursuing journalism is to stick with it.

“Don’t listen when they tell you that you shouldn’t get a journalism degree,” McCarthy said. “If you’re creative, and you like being creative, there are so many things you can do.

“Everyone needs someone to tell stories in any field, from politics to agriculture to healthcare to education. Everyone needs storytellers, and that’s what you learn in J-School.”