Special Projects

Graduate student meeting with a faculty advisor to discuss thesis options.

The Project Option allows graduate students the flexibility to create a thesis project tailor-made to advance their career goals. For example, you may propose a series of newspaper articles on the homeless in Arkansas, produce a website that analyzes regional crime statistics, or create a social marketing plan for a local retailer.

The Project proposal must be rigorous in its methodology and meticulous in its planning. For example, if you propose a series of newspaper articles on homelessness in Arkansas, you identify the primary focus and purpose of each story, propose how long the stories will be, how many stories there will be, in what formats and media they will be produced, and from which sources the content will be obtained, etc. Obviously, this may change somewhat as you delve into the reporting process, but you must demonstrate that there is sufficient source material and relevant topics to begin with an idea of what you plan to cover in each story. You must explain how you’ll obtain permission for the use of any relevant content you do not produce.

Also include an analysis of the target venues or outlets in which you’d expect your work to appear. For example, if you planned to publish articles online and in print for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette or Arkansas Times, you’d conduct a thorough review of previous articles and material these outlets published on your topic. You’d summarize that to identify how your proposed material would fit in the relevant outlet(s) and build upon or expand previous reporting. For each outlet, you could analyze the audience to develop a thorough understanding of what audience needs or interests may be served, what tone a magazine uses to address readers, etc.

All Project Options proposals can only be approved after consultation with a thesis advisor and other faculty. For more details, click here.

Recent Graduate:

Aniseh Ebbini

For her master’s thesis project, Aniseh Ebbini developed a comprehensive social media strategy to be used in local television newsrooms. She set out to investigate the ways in which local television newsrooms were utilizing and incorporating social media into daily news dissemination. then interviewed more than a dozen employees of the three major local affiliates in the Fayetteville, AR, market. In addition to in-person, on-camera interviews, she reviewed academic research on the topic. She analyzed the perceived successes and failures of implementing various social media into news dissemination and compiled her strategy.

Exploration of Social Media in Local Television News (10:33)