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Photographic work of former York countian David Swanson helps Philadelphia Inquirer team win Pulitzer

Former York countian David Swanson, standing at center, takes his customary position behind the camera as members of the Philadelphia Inquirer staff celebrate their Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. Swanson, two other photographers and five reporters served on the ‘Assault on Learning’ team that explored violence in Philadelphia schools. Also of interest: York County high school grads teach lessons in achievement on national stage.

An official Philadelphia City Schools report in January reinforced what the Philadelphia Inquirer series “Assault on Learning” reported in 2011: Violence is widespread and underreported.  Reporting standards vary among city schools.

The Philadelphia Inquirer team comprehensively reported and documented the out-of-control crime in Philly schools. And photographer David Swanson, a York Country Day graduate, was a key part of the team that was honored with a Pulitzer Prize earlier this week.

So, York County links with the Pulitzer, journalism’s top prize, are adding up.

This photograph of a victim of Philadelphia school violence and her mother was part of the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Pulitzer Prize-winning entry. David Swanson captured this scene and provided extensive video footage that helped tell the story, ‘Assault on Learning.’ (Please click to enlarge.)

Denver Post photographer Craig F. Walker added a second Pulitzer in feature photography in the latest competition. The York Suburban graduate is the only known person with York County ties to win two Pulitzer Prizes.

Interestingly, Swanson and  Walker grew up at about the same time in York County, launched their photography careers in the 1980s, earned positions as photographers at major metropolitan newspapers and became war correspondents.

Now, their work has earned Pulitzer prizes.

And both provided freelance photography for the York Daily Record early in their careers.

Here is an opportunity for a community group to bring back both native sons to York. They would be on a short list for next year’s mayor’s arts awards, those awards granted to Jeff Koons and members of the rock band Live this year.

Or what a show the two could provide showing, and commenting on say their work as war correspondents, at the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center.

Their work, of course, is more than about awards.

David Swanson’s photography, for example, documented a problem in Philly schools that must be remedied before quality education can be gained in the classroom.

Their work matters.

David Swanson has won numerous journalism awards in his career as a Philadelphia Inquirer photographer. ‘He seems to get to places other photographers can’t, and his photos are very telling and dramatic. . . . He has always had a knack for being able to shoot pictures in hot spots,’ a colleague said about Swanson.

Also of interest:

Add another achiever to the list of York countians with impressive resumes

Photos courtesy of the Philadelphia Inquirer