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The Mike Levine Journalism Education Fund is underwriting a fellowship for journalists with less than five years of experience to attend the annual Investigative Reporters and Editors conference in June.
 

Description: The Mike Levine Journalism Education Fund was established to honor and memorialize Mike Levine, a columnist and executive editor of the Times Herald-Record in Middletown, N.Y., who died in 2007. The fund is dedicated to helping journalists pursue “the news of the day with the compassion and craft that became the hallmark of Mike’s work.” 
 

Who is eligible: Journalists with less than five years of experience working in daily or weekly print news organizations or digital-only news outlets.


What does the fellowship cover?


One-year IRE membership/renewal 

Registration to IRE National Conference

Required application materials:

·  Resume, link to a resume or LinkedIn page

·  Three clips showcasing your work

·  A letter of support from a supervisor/manager to attend the training. It should include why you are deserving of a fellowship to get this training.

·  A letter of no more than 250 words explaining what you would do with this training.


For more information or questions: mikelevinebook@gmail.com

 

OUR 2024 FELLOWSHIP WINNER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Geena Mortfield of The Brandon Sun, in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada was selected as our 2024 fellow. Her application stood out for the way it embodied the spirit and doggedness of Mike. Below is her application letter. Congrats, Geena!

In a column about the importance of watchdog journalism, Mike Levine wrote “the newspapers for whom watchdog reporting is not a pedigree show for the Pulitzer, but a stubborn mutt’s insistence  on holding a town board accountable.”

Armed with a belief that journalism’s purpose is to tell the truth, challenge the powerful, and  expose wrongdoing, I packed my bags to the middle-of-nowhere in Canada—Brandon, Manitoba, a  town of 50,000 in the Canadian prairies for my first reporter job at a daily print newspaper.
With the IRE training, I plan to investigate the local police force’s use of pedestrian stops. Brandon, like many rural Canadian towns, is surrounded by First Nations communities. Indigenous people  are disproportionately overrepresented in the Canadian criminal justice system, and I see this on  the local level in my daily reporting covering court.  
There’s also a running “joke” that I’ve heard from local Indigenous people and seem to play out  when details come to light in court hearings—that if you’re Indigenous and riding a bike in Brandon,  you’ll get stopped by the police.
Since the local police do not formally collect race-based data, this investigation will involve  significant work and careful methodology. I will use the investigative techniques I learn at the IRE conference to dig into the local police force’s use of pedestrian stops and whether these stops disproportionately affect Indigenous people. Why? Because I believe that I owe it to the community to try to find the truth. And maybe because I’m a stubborn mutt.








 

OUR 2022 FELLOWSHIP WINNER

 

Aliya Schneider was selected for a 2022 Mike Levine Journalism Education Fund fellowship to attend this year's Investigative Reporters and Editors conference!

Aliya graduated from Barnard College of Columbia University, where she majored in Urban Studies with a concentration in Political Science and took classes at the Columbia Journalism School.

 

After freelancing for local outlets in Vermont, Aliya worked at a daily newspaper in Hudson, N.Y., and is now at The Bronx Times, where she wears various hats as the digital editor and frequently reports on transit, development and local politics.

 

She can also be found helping the editor-in-chief, asking lots of questions and sending coworkers story ideas and photos of her cat Mimi.

Levine 2024 fellow_edited_edited.jpg

 

 2020 FELLOWSHIP WINNERS 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Congratulations to Jacy Marmaduke of The Fort Collins Coloradoan and Kaitlin Bain of The Beaumont Enterprise, who were selected for fellowships by the Mike Levine Journalism Education Fund.

The fund is paying for their registration to attend the 2020 national conference of Investigative Reporters and Editors (which is being held virtually this year because of the pandemic) as well as a yearlong membership to IRE.

The fund, which was established to honor and memorialize Mike Levine, a columnist and executive editor of the Times Herald-Record in Middletown, N.Y., who died in 2007, is dedicated to helping journalists pursue “the news of the day with the compassion and craft that became the hallmark of Mike’s work.”

The fellowship was created specifically to benefit journalists with less than five years of experience working in daily or weekly print news organizations or digital-only news outlets.

Marmaduke covers city government and other local issues.

In her application, she described Fort Collins as “a scenic, mid-sized city laden with internet trophies for its mountain vistas, municipal progressivism and quality of life.”

But beyond its “awards and charm,” she said she wants to tell readers “more stories about what’s broken and what can be done to fix it.”

Among the topics she wants to tackle: housing, homelessness and police brutality.

As for what she hopes to get out of the IRE conference, she wrote: “I have specific investigative reporting goals in mind and plan to leave the conference with the training I need to tell these stories. I want to use public records and shoe-leather reporting to investigate criminal justice inequities, government shortcomings and predatory property management practices.”

 

Bain attended her first IRE conference in 2019. Since then she’s analyzed more than 2,000 pages of communications during a major explosion of a nearby petrochemical plant.

And that’s just the beginning of her digging.

“I am still using spreadsheets built using information about coronavirus cases and recoveries to fact check our local elected officials, point out alarming trends and deepen daily reporting," she wrote. “I also used confrontation skills from a workshop with Alanna Autler to confront county drainage district crews doing recovery work at supervisors’ homes on company time after another massive flood.”

She plans to use her IRE training to learn tools to analyze larger data sets for a project to determine who is using a tax law that allows property owners to contest their property values.

“We’ve seen it used largely to lower the taxes paid by petrochemical plants to local school district,” she said. “Because of that, this year the lowest-income district in our area will raise residents' taxes to offset the loss.”

We are pleased to award these fellowships and look forward to their next enterprise reporting!

For more information or questions: mikelevinebook@gmail.com

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