About David Swanson

David is a lifelong Pennsylvania resident.


2012 Winner, Pulitzer Prize in Public Service for the work in the Philadelphia Inquirer series, “The Assault on Learning.” He has been nominated by The Philadelphia Inquirer for the Pulitzer more than a dozen times.

2004 World Press Photo Golden Eye for photography in Ramadi, Iraq.

Career Biography
David is an accomplished photojournalist with more than 30 years experience, capturing the triumphs and tragedies of the human condition. His work has appeared on the front pages of The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post.

He has worked for the Philadelphia Inquirer since 1986, where he has covered international, national and local news.

International Work
David has covered the civil wars in both Bosnia-Herzegovina and Tbilisi, Georgia.

In 2003, he was as an embedded photojournalist with the 10th Mountain Division during two trips to Afghanistan.

In 2004, he was embedded with the 2nd Battalion 4th Marines Echo Company in Ramadi, Iraq, as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. David was with the company photographing their work in the sustained firefight that led to the deaths of 10 men in one day. David also was injured a few days later when he was shot in the arm. This company sustained the most killed and wounded in action since the Vietnam War. In total, Echo Company lost 35 young men, with twice that wounded during their 8-month tour.

David responded immediately to the earthquake in Haiti in 2010 and since then has made other trips to help spread the news about the continued need for recovery efforts in the devastated country.


In 2005, he went to New Orleans where the covered the ravages of Hurricane Katrina.

He has documented many local tragedies, including the fatal accident on Route 1 involving five Penncrest girls and the trial of Arthur Bomar, who was found guilty of the slaying college athlete Aimee Willard.

David covered the shooting deaths of five Amish children in Nickel Mines, Bart Township, Lancaster County and the nine miners trapped in Quecreek Mine in Lincoln Township, Somerset County.

Most recently, he’s been the Inquirer’s photojournalist in State College covering the Jerry Sandusky trial and its impact on the university community. David was hit in the head by a thrown brick during a low- grade riot after students learned of Joe Paterno’s firing.

In 1999, David authored the book, Water Music: Of Salmon, Saabs and Spey Rods, examining the experiences in northern life in Norway.

In 2004, David published a short DVD about his embed in Iraq called “Echoes of War,” which many college journalism programs now use in their curriculum.

David earned a bachelor’s of science in journalism degree from Ohio University and attended one year of graduate school at the University of Trondheim, Norway.