Bethany Swain

Lecturer, Philip Merrill College of Journalism, University of Maryland College Park, MD

Contact Information


Bethany Swain has covered a wide variety of news events from the Pope and Sarah Palin to the Queen of England and NATO troops in Afghanistan during her 10 years shooting, editing, writing and producing stories for CNN. She was a versatile member of the Washington, D.C. Bureau, and was one of the women that made up only 5 percent of CNN’s domestic photojournalists team.

In December 2007, Bethany Swain launched the award-winning “In Focus” series, a collection of natural sound stories crafted by fellow CNN photojournalists on various topics, including the environment, the spirit of giving and veterans issues. The multi-platform project became a regular special on CNN networks.

In 2010, Swain became the first woman to win Video Photographer of the Year in the White House News Photographers Association ‘Eyes of History’ competition. Her photojournalism was honored by the National Press Photographers Association, Best of Photojournalism contest and the Society of Professional Journalists.

Before leaving CNN to teach broadcast journalism and multimedia classes at the Merrill College, Swain created #FamilySolutions, a series with CNN correspondent Lisa Sylvester that focuses on issues that impact parents and families.

Aside from her CNN duties and presenting at numerous NPPA workshops, Swain has also been a guest faculty member at Poynter’s Backpack Journalist seminar. She has guest lectured at several institutes, including CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism, Temple University, Georgetown University and American University. She is on the board of directors for the NPPA, and an active member of the White House News Photographers Association (WHNPA) and the Women Photojournalists of Washington (WPOW).

Bethany Swain is passionate about storytelling, especially compelling characters and natural sound. She graduated from the Park School of Communications at Ithaca College, where she held the titles of station manager and chief photographer at the college station, ICTV. Prior to CNN, Swain worked at WPTZ in Vermont, WJAR in Rhode Island, and NewsChannel 8 in Washington. Her first job was delivering the Burlington Free Press every morning, starting at age 10 until she graduated from high school. Sometimes you could catch her at 5 a.m. reading the paper before she delivered it to her customers.

Poynter teaching event: Teachapalooza VII, June 2-4.

Past Poynter teaching:
Teachapalooza - 2016
The Backpack Journalist - 2009