BRENNA  SWANSTON 

Editor.

Storyteller.

Lifelong learner.

35687082_10216569780699606_6595986034738
 

About Me

I'm an editor and writer with more than five years of demonstrated experience in journalism and marketing content. I currently work as an editor for HigherEducation.com, a Red Ventures company. I hold a bachelor of science in journalism from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo; my news background focuses on education, environment, immigration, agriculture and religion.

Since 2017, I've been creating and editing web content on a remote basis while traveling the world. Amid COVID-19, I've settled in San Luis Obispo, California, eagerly awaiting the chance to travel abroad safely in a post-pandemic world.

 

Work Experience

EDITOR
 

HigherEducation.com (Red Ventures) | Full-Time | Remote | Sep. 2020 - Present

  • Conduct high-level content approvals to ensure quality, clarity, accuracy, and SEO compliance

  • Train incoming writers and editors on H-E's style guide and editorial process

  • Write content for H-E's BizTech content vertical (which includes partner sites such as TeachingDegree.org, OnlineMBA.com, ComputerScience.org, and CriminalJustice.com)

  • Copyedit content for the BizTech vertical

  • Maintain and update internal style guide for BizTech team

WEB CONTENT EDITOR
 

HigherEducation.com (Red Ventures) | Freelance | Remote | May 2018 - Sep. 2020

  • Edited web content (15+ articles per week) for style, syntax, grammar, factual accuracy and SEO

  • Provided feedback for writers; workshop with entry-level writers to improve their editorial skills

WEB CONTENT WRITER
 

Leaf Group | Freelance | Remote | June 2017 - Sep. 2020

  • Pitched and wrote 2+ editorial pieces per week for partner websites producing science and business content (Chron.com, Career Trend, Sciencing.com)

  • Renovated old travel articles for accuracy and SEO and to meet new style and formatting guidelines (USA Today, 10Best)

  • Assigned LIVESTRONG.COM articles to writers, format finished articles for SEO

COPYWRITER

Various Clients | Freelance | July 2014 - Sep. 2020

  • Wrote and edited blog posts, press releases, product descriptions, and general web copy for e-commerce firm clients

  • Renovated old blog content for accuracy, timeliness, and SEO

  • Wrote landing page content, Facebook and Google ad copy, and YouTube video scripts for South Korea-based architecture and planning startup

  • Crafted Instagram posts for sustainable lifestyle brand based in the Netherlands

CONTRIBUTING WRITER
 

Queen City Nerve | Freelance | Charlotte, North Carolina | March 2019

  • Wrote a three-part feature series exploring racial and socioeconomic segregation in Charlotte’s public schools, analyzing Charlotte's impact on school segregation across the United States

STAFF WRITER
 

The Sun | Full-Time | Santa Maria, California | Jan. 2016 - June 2017

  • Wrote news briefs and longform enterprise stories focused on education, agriculture and the environment

  • Copyedited the paper’s news section every week 

  • Backfilled for proofreader and managing editor when OOO

Awards

ASSOCIATION OF ALTERNATIVE NEWSMEDIA (AAN) AWARDS 2020:

Second Place: Long-Form News Story

NORTH CAROLINA PRESS ASSOCIATION EDITORIAL CONTEST 2019:

Second Place: Education Reporting

CALIFORNIA NEWSPAPER PUBLISHERS ASSOCIATION (CNPA) BETTER NEWSPAPERS CONTEST 2016:

First Place: Agricultural Reporting

Honorable Mention: Profile Feature Story

Honorable Mention: Coverage of Education

COLLEGE MEDIA ASSOCIATION PINNACLE AWARDS 2015:

Third Place: Arts & Entertainment Story

CNPA CAMPUS EXCELLENCE IN JOURNALISM CONTEST 2015:

First Place: Profile Feature Story

Find my full resume in a PDF here.

 

My Writing

History is Now: Segregation in Charlotte's Public Schools
Queen City Nerve

First Installment | Second Installment | Third Installment

Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) -- Charlotte, North Carolina's public school district -- has led and reflected national segregation trends for generations. Nearly 50 years ago, a Supreme Court case involving CMS sparked a wave of busing policies and reintegration efforts across the United States. Now, the district is again one of the country's most socioeconomically and racially segregated.
In this three-part series, I explored the historical role of CMS in school segregation nationwide and how segregation still pervades in the district today.
This series placed second for education reporting in the 2019 North Carolina Press Association Editorial Contest.

From 2017-2018, I contributed content to USA Today's Travel Tips section, including some longform editorial assignments, such as this one. This piece explores how to spend a trip to Lima. I researched and wrote this article after visiting Lima myself, so I pulled from my personal travel experiences in addition to materials I found online.

I contributed articles for the small business section at Chron.com, the Houston Chronicle's web publication. For this piece, I delved into the process of starting a second-hand clothing business. I interviewed the co-founder of Buffalo Exchange and an entrepreneur who sold vintage clothing independently online. I also researched opinions from the president of the National Association of Resale and Thrift Shops.

Santa Barbara County lacks behavioral wellness resources, forcing many of its residents with mental illnesses into a cycle between the streets and county jail cells. I looked into the reasons behind this cycle of incarceration and county efforts to remedy it.

For Sciencing.com, I contributed "weird science" content, for which I researched and aggregated offbeat stories for adolescent-aged readers. In this piece, I discussed the FBI's investigation of Bigfoot in the 1970s, the results of which the bureau released in 2019. The article tells the story of a prominent Bigfoot theorist who sent a DNA sample to the FBI for testing in 1976, only to learn that the sample had come from a deer.

As part of a larger editorial project for Career Trend, I touched on the importance of career backup plans as evidenced by the 2018-19 partial government shutdown. In this piece, I used NPR reporting and data from a New York Times analysis to highlight how affected government employees earned income during the shutdown. I also touched on fast certification programs that might help professionals secure backup options for work.​

I looked into local controversy surrounding H-2A, a federal program for temporary foreign farmworkers. This program draws sharp criticism from community members and farmworker rights activists, and it has created housing issues in Northern Santa Barbara County and all along the Central Coast.

 

This story won first place for agricultural reporting at the 2016 California Newspaper Publishers Association Better Newspapers Contest.

Three Guadalupe residents drove across the country in November 2016 to join protestors resisting the Dakota Access Pipeline at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota. This is the story of our local "water protectors."

This story earned an honorable mention for profile feature reporting at the 2016 California Newspaper Publishers Association Better Newspapers Contest.

When a local mom approached the Sun with gruesome stories of how her daughter was bullied and the school district didn't appear to be taking action on the matter, I took a deeper look at why kids bully and how schools might address it.

This story garnered an honorable mention for coverage of education at the 2016 California Newspaper Publishers Association Better Newspapers Contest.