Tag Archives: Bethany Swain

ViewFinder Sets End of Semester Programs

ViewFinder logo

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (April 19) – Merrill College’s  ViewFinder capstone class will premier its latest work next month – focused on the opioid crisis in Maryland. Merrill lecturer Bethany Swain teaches the award-winning class. Writing in an email, she said, “The documentary project aims to put faces on the many people impacted by the epidemic, including those trying to help in Anne Arundel County.” The documentary will be shown at the Pascal Center at the Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold on Wednesday, May 17th at 7 p.m.

The event will highlight the year of reporting by the ViewFinder team as part of the University of Maryland’s Partnership for Action Learning in Sustainability (PALS) project.

ADDRESS: Pascal Center for the Performing Arts, 943-951 Anne Arundel Community College Rd, Arnold, MD 21012


Merrill College Program
The spring 2017 team will also host a screening on campus of some of the work and other projects created this semester on May 10 at 7:30 p.m. at the Architecture Building on campus.

Swain, NPPA Chapter Honored at Northern Short Course Event

NPPA student members and faculty sponsor Bethany Swain pose at the Northern Short Course event.

By: Susann Shinn

Student members of the University of Maryland’s chapter of the National Press Photographers Association joined national members at the Northern Short Course this past weekend. Over the course of these two days, UMD NPPA brought 12 students to Fairfax, Va., ranging from freshman to graduate students. The weekend’s agenda was filled with presentations from talented photojournalists, practical workshops and panels focused on visual journalism. Discussion topics ranged from covering the 2016 presidential campaign, balancing the relationship between photographers and editors and producing long-form passion projects.

In addition to all the scheduled events, the conference was a great networking opportunity. Students connected with various industry leaders, asking them questions and learning about their journey in the field of journalism. Bethany Swain's Award from NPPA.They also had the opportunity to have their work reviewed by these professionals during one-on-one meetings.

To end the workshop series, the Northern Short Course Awards ceremony took place Saturday night. Merrill College lecturer Bethany Swain was honored with the Robin R. Garland Educator Award, which her nominated her for outstanding service as a photojournalism mentor and educator.

Members of Swain’s Viewfinder capstone, which specializes in advanced video storytelling, were also honored with third place in the team multimedia category. Their reporting work from the fall 2016 semester on the heroin epidemic in Anne Arundel County competed against entries from professional publications such as Newsday and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.


Covering the Conventions: The 2008 RNC Convention

Bethany with the rest of the CNN photojournalists at the 2008 RNC Convention in St. Paul, Mn.

Bethany Swain poses with her fellow photojournalists at the RNC Convention in St. Paul, Mn. in 2008.

Note: Merrill College Lecturer Bethany Swain covered a number of political conventions over the years for CNN and other news organizations. For many, she would write narratives to family and friends about her experiences. In this note, she talks about the 2008 RNC Convention in St. Paul Mn. Photos: Bethany Swain.

By Bethany Swain
Sept. 1, 2008

When we arrived on site near the Excel Center at 3 a.m. today it was quiet, as Hurricane Gustov has taken away the usual convention energy. I’m working with CNN Newsource doing live shots for our affiliates with Sandra Endo. A line from her package really sums it up, “It was supposed to be a party for the Grand Old Party.”

Last night there were a dozen CNN photojournalists that collected in the hotel lounge to watch our colleagues covering the storm (photo – right). It was rare for all of us to be around and at the same time on the eve of an event like the convention. If it weren’t for the RNC, many of us would be in the Gulf Coast, too.

The group included Mark Biello, an Atlanta-based photojournalist who’s phone updates during the first hours of Katrina no doubt contributed to CNN’s Peabody award for breaking news coverage.

Our location on top of a parking garage overlooks the Excel center and the CNN Grill, a restaurant CNN took over with a special menu and CNN branded beer.

As the morning progresses, there are none of the lines and mobs of people I remember from the ’00 and ’04 conventions. Even some of the reporter live shot positions that would be busy previewing President Bush’s speech are empty as he canceled his visit to Minnesota because of the storm.

Our engineer set up a big TV this morning so we can watch the network report on the storm as we do our live shots on the scale back of the convention. If there is anything we do better than “CNN = Politics” is being “Hurricane Headquarters.”

A lot of planning went into this week here in the Twin Cities, but I don’t think anyone planned for this.

Montage of photos from Bethany Swain at the 2008 RNC Convention in St. Paul, Mn.


Good Neighbor Day Provides Real-World Journalism Training

Good Neighbor Day at UMD works to preserve frog habitat near campus.

By: Carly Kempler ’18 and Anna Muckerman ’18

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – A little cold weather and a lot of rain couldn’t stop us from filming this JOUR262 assignment, especially because we had expectations – high expectations – from our notable professor, Bethany Swain.

So we traded in our blazers and ballet flats for nylon jackets and rain boots and set off to film College Park’s sixth annual Good Neighbor Day at the Sentinel Swamp Sanctuary, also called the frog pond.

Good Neighbor Day is an annual event where volunteers – students and residents – come together to revitalize the City of College Park. We chose to film the frog pond, a new location for this year’s event.

The terrain was muddy and difficult to work with; thorns poked through our jeans as we hurried to follow volunteers through the swamp to get close-up shots. We tried our best not to be clumsy while carrying a few pounds of gear probably worth more than our in-state tuition.

Merrill journalist Anna Muckerman reported this JOUR262 assignment. Video by Carly Kempler.

Merrill journalist Anna Muckerman reported this JOUR262 assignment. Video by Carly Kempler.

We searched the swamp carefully, on the lookout for frogs, which would’ve made the perfect addition to our package. Eagerly, we walked toward the pond – Anna had her heart set on capturing a frog to guest-star in her standup – but, ironically, we had no luck spotting any frogs at the frog pond. We did hear them though, which only frustrated us more – until Anna said those two beautiful words and winked, “nat sound.”

We hid under a white trashbag trying to keep the camera dry, which proved difficult and only mildly effective. Carly focused the umbrella on the camera, but we still had to rush to get napkins from her car when we saw tiny droplets on the viewfinder.

If it sounds like we’re complaining – we are – but the experience and the volunteers made it worth it. They worked tirelessly despite the weather, but we couldn’t match their fervor throughout the rain, which kept us groaning 80 percent of the time 100 percent of the time. These volunteers had smiles on their faces and contagious laughs throughout their entire cleanup, and everyone did their share.

Despite limiting and hazardous terrain, we captured many shots of native species, including daffodils, onion grass and the infamously wild College Park beer can. We ventured off-tripod a few times as well, careful to use the surrounding logs to steady our shots.

Soaked and tired, we finished up gathering shots of volunteers, trash and nature itself – the only thing undisturbed by the weather.  And, as we wiped off the camera one final time, and folded down the tripod, the simultaneously most beautiful and infuriating moment of our three-hour shoot happened – the sun peaked out from behind the grey cloud cover, casting a warm, yellow glow on the Sentinel Swamp Sanctuary.

Cleanup, Cleanup Everybody Do Your Share from Carly Kempler and Anna Muckerman on Vimeo.

About Carly Kempler ’18 and Anna Muckerman ’18

Carly Kempler is senior staff writer and assistant news editor for the Diamondback student newspaper.

Anna Muckerman is the news director for WMUC Radio and a staff writer for the Diamondback student newspaper. She is also a production volunteer for the Capital News Service Broadcast Bureau.

300 Maryland High School Journalism Students Set for J-Day Events at UMD

Merrill and MDCSPA Logos.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The Philip Merrill College of Journalism and the Maryland-DC Scholastic Press Association will welcome some 300 Maryland high school students and their advisers to campus Friday, Nov. 6 for J-Day. The day-long journalism program will take place primarily in Knight Hall and UMTV next door in Tawes Hall, but will also hold sessions in the Grand Ballroom of the Stamp Student Union as well as well as Jull Hall (Mathematics).

The day will start at the Stamp Student Union with a panel of four recent Merrill College graduates who now work in journalism: Dana Amihere ’12 M.J., interactive editor, Dallas Morning News; Morgan Gilliam ’13 M.A., producer of Capital Insider, NewsChannel 8; Jin Kim ’15 B.A., web producer, Baltimore Sun; and Jonas Shaffer ’12 B.A., general editor, sports department, Baltimore Sun. Moderator: Chris Harvey ’80, director of assessments and lecturer, Philip Merrill College of Journalism

Three concurrent sessions led by professional journalists and educators will follow with sessions on yearbook, print, online and social media journalism, and more.

Students and advisers will also be able to take tours of Merrill College, the Diamondback student newspaper and WMUC student radio station, or the Capital News Service broadcast facility (at UMTV/Tawes Hall). Advisers will have a chance to meet to network and discuss press freedom in Maryland and D.C. with Student Press Law Center Executive Director Frank LoMonte during one of the concurrent sessions.

Merrill College students will be part of panel discussions looking at what goes on behind the scenes of a college journalism major and sports journalism:

  • What’s it like to make the jump from high school to college reporting and multi-platform journalism? Panelists include: Maggie Gottlieb ’17, broadcast major; Brittany Cheng ‘17, multiplatform major; Alicia McElhaney ‘15, multiplatform major; and Jessie Karangu ‘16, broadcast major. Moderator: Sue Kopen-Katcef, broadcast bureau director at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism.
  • Four Merrill students describe their experiences covering sports in the Washington, D.C. region:  Michael Stern ‘17, co-founder of The Left Bench and business director, WMUC Sports; Andy Dunn ‘18, editor of The Left Bench, college soccer reporter for SBS, basketball reporter for DC Sports Box and video assistant for Maryland Athletics; Samantha Waldenberg ‘18, intern at Redskins.com, social media manager for TLB and broadcaster for WMUC Sports; and Marissa Morris ‘16, news director, WMUC Sports and staff member, Big Ten Network. Moderator: Beth Mechum, coordinator, The Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism, University of Maryland.

Knight Hall, Philip Merrill College of Journalism.Faculty presenters and moderators from the Philip Merrill College of Journalism include Professor Chris Hanson, CNS Broadcast Bureau Director and lecturer Sue Kopen Katcef, Adjunct Lecturer Sharon O’Malley, lecturer Josh Davidsburg, Director of Assessments and Lecturer Chris Harvey, Povich Center Coordinator Beth Mecham, Lecturer Bethany Swain, Ph.D. student April Newton, Ph.D. student and Adjunct Lecturer Rob Wells, and Associate Professor Ron Yaros.

Other sessions will include speakers from across the University of Maryland Campus, as well as from The Baltimore Sun,  Hyattsville Life and Times, Terp Magazine, The Student Press Law Center, Education Week, McClatchy Company, New Jersey Advance Media and Newark Star-Ledger, and The Annapolis Capital.

J-Day Program (PDF)

About the Philip Merrill College of Journalism

The Philip Merrill College of Journalism is one of the world’s leading journalism schools, with a distinguished faculty dedicated to enhancing the news industry and training the next generation of journalists in a state-of-the-art facility near the nation’s capital.

Merrill College educates students at the undergraduate, master’s and doctoral levels within a liberal arts context, preparing them for careers in journalism, media, research, teaching and related fields.  Merrill’s curriculum is one of the few in the nation focused solely on journalism – both broadcast and multiplatform – and its world-class faculty members have won numerous Pulitzer prizes and Emmy awards and conducted important media research.

About the Maryland-DC Scholastic Press Association

The Maryland-D.C. Scholastic Press Association is a non-profit organization that offers opportunities for advisers and students who wish to continue the tradition of journalistic excellence in Maryland and the Washington, D.C. area schools.

MDCSPA has a strong interest in scholastic free press issues, in supporting the rejuvenation of defunct journalism programs, in encouraging the creation of new programs, and in strengthening existing programs at area middle and high schools. Membership is free and available to all teachers and student staffs.

Through sponsorship and co-sponsorship, the Association works to provide professional development and training opportunities for students and media/journalism advisers, including conventions, contests, and summer programs. The Association works to develop and delivers opportunities in media/journalism education throughout the District of Columbia and Maryland while encouraging  schools from outside its region to participate as well.