Workshop FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can anybody apply?
The workshop is open to working journalists who have between 3 and 12 years of experience and who will submit to the workshop committee an outline for a story they will want to finish with the help of the workshop coaches. This is a working workshop – writing will happen as will honest discussions about writing, reporting and why we're journalists.

2. What does it cost?
The workshop, accommodations and meals are free of charge for journalists who are selected to participate. Generous grants from the Harnisch Foundation ( and from James H. Ottaway Jr., former owner of Ottaway Newspapers and a former member of the Dow Jones board of directors, are making the 2010 workshop possible. Plus, the 2010 workshop is supported by Mike Levine's family, friends, colleagues and by his readers. The Mike Levine Journalism Education Fund is a component fund of the Community Foundation of Orange and Sullivan which is a non-profit organization based in Montgomery, NY.

3. How will the workshop help me?
The workshop is designed to provide one-on-one coaching from seasoned journalists. But it's much more than that. It's a weekend that will connect with people who'll remind you why you got into this business in an atmosphere that's designed to leave you re-charged and re-inspired at a time when that is so sorely needed.

4. I understand there will be 12 writers selected for the workshop and that they will work with 9 coaches. Who are the coaches?
Workshop coaches for 2010 are:
Ben Montgomery of the St. Petersburg Times, Neil Swidey of the Boston Globe, Celina Ottaway former coach at the Albany NY Times-Union, Paula McMahon of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Steve Israel of the Middletown NY Times Herald-Record, Lee Hill Kavanaugh of the St. Petersburg Times, Kansas City Star, Chris Mele of the Middletown NY Times Herald-Record, Michael Kruse of the St. Petersburg Times, and Brendan Scott of the New York Post.

5. I see the applicants must submit a story outline to apply. What kind of a story should that be?
We're open to any kind of a story, but it should be one that is meaningful to you and that you've been wanting to work on. It should be a story that you'll want to work on with the help of your peers and writing coaches. You must submit an outline to apply. If you are chosen for the workshop, you will be asked to submit a draft of story to your coach in mid-April. All possible the reporting must be done and you'll work on the writing with your coach and peers. Workshop volunteers Meg McGuire at 845-741-8146 and Steve Israel at 845-283-3641 are available to answer your questions about these submissions.

 6. Where will the workshop be held?
Writers and coaches will stay at the Shandelee Lake Inn ( The workshop will be based at the inn. The entire inn has been leased by the Mike Levine Workshop, we'll be the only guests that weekend. The inn is a renovated 100-year-old Catskills boarding-house era lodge. It offers us a secluded retreat-like setting that is low on luxury (no TV, some shared baths, simply furnished rooms) and high on the intimacy the workshop seeks to create among its participants.

7. How should I get there?
While the workshop, plus room and board are free of charge (paid for by donations and grants), workshop participants are expected to get to the Shandelee Inn on their own resources. Directions are at Closest airports are Stewart Airport in Newburgh, Binghamton, Albany NY and any of the NYC area airports. Workshop volunteers are available to pick you up at airports or train and bus stations.

8. You mentioned there are some travel scholarships available.
Yes, we have set aside some funds to help pay for travel, especially for those coming from a distance. If you need help with travel expenses, please note this on your application, and someone will call you if you are chosen for this year's workshop. For more information on this, contact Ellen Levine at 845-238-2458.

9. What is the schedule for the workshop?
Participants will arrive Thursday, April 29, anytime from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. for dinner and a casual first evening at the workshop. Workshop sessions will begin first thing Friday morning. The workshop ends Sunday, May 2, after a closing breakfast.
Mini-seminars on writing and reporting will be held on Friday and Saturday.
A more detailed schedule will be posted as the workshop draws near and will be e-mailed to participants.

Keep the principles and passions of Mike Levine alive in the craft that he loved by making a contribution to the Mike Levine Journalism Education Fund.