Our coaches are professionally in high demand and sometimes a listed coach is unable to participate because of a last-minute change in their schedule. If we need to replace a coach, we will do so with a person of similar credentials in the business.

Be sure to visit this page often as we add coaches as they become available.

2023 Photo Coaches

  • Staff Photographer, USA Today

    With an award-winning career spanning three decades in visual storytelling, Jack has traveled the world covering events in 25-plus countries including 12 Olympic games and dozens of trips into war zones including Afghanistan and Iraq.
  • Chief Photojournalist, The Flint Journal
    Jake, who attended Central Michigan University, is currently a photojournalist for The Flint Journal and MLive.com, where he has been committed to telling community stories in his backyard since 2013. He's been honored as a 2017 Pulitzer finalist in Feature Photography, as well as named the Small Market Photographer of the Year in the National Press Photographers Association’s Best of Photojournalism three times in the last five years and Michigan Photographer of the Year five times.
  • Independent
    Scott is a Miami based freelance photographer whose passion is meeting and documenting the communities and personalities that make Florida the fascinating state it is. His Florida journey began in 2011 as a staff photographer at the Naples Daily News where his work was recognized with multiple awards from NPPA, including Photojournalist of the Year (Small Markets). Since his venture into the freelance world in Miami, his work has been recognized by POYi and American Photography while working for clients including The New York Times, The Washington Post, ESPN, GEO Magazine, People Magazine, CNN, and many others.
  • Editor, News Photographer, NPPA
    Sue is an advocate for visual journalists as a picture editor, designer, art director and former newsroom manager. She believes everyone has a story to tell, and that multimedia is the powerful medium to report those stories. She teaches a graduate-level leadership class in the School of Visual Communication at Ohio University.
  • Photojournalist, San-Antonio Express-News
    Jess spent years living and traveling overseas before settling into life as a visual journalist at her hometown paper in Ohio. She currently works in Texas as a staff photographer for the San Antonio Express-News. Her long form stories have been recognized by POYi and BOP.
  • Photo and Video Journalist, Detroit Free Press
    “If you learn to shoot with your heart, you’ll move people’s souls!” A good friend & mentor said that to Eric years ago. Teaching is a big passion and he coaches at a variety of photo and video workshops around the country every year. Eric embraces the “Reach One, Teach One” philosophy & enjoys mentoring others around the country interested in this amazing profession.

2023 Video Storytelling Coaches

  • Social Video Producer, National Geographic
    Shweta is a video producer and editor on the immersive experiences team at National Geographic. In her role, she has spent time working across platforms including Instagram, TikTok, and the National Geographic website to create video-led editorial stories. Her work has been recognized by Pictures of the Year International, The Society of Publication Designers, and NPPA Best of Photojournalism awards. With a Master of Science in Multimedia, Photography, and Design from Syracuse University, and a Master of Computer Science from the University of Texas, Austin, Shweta brings a unique blend of technical and creative skills to her work.
  • Independent Cinematographer
    Chris is a cinematographer who specializes in non-fiction storytelling. He formerly worked as a staff director of photography at Blue Chalk Media, where he contributed to projects that earned recognition from the Northwest Regional Emmys, the AIB, Communicator, Telly, W3 and Webby Awards, among others.
  • Independent Film Maker
    Emily Kassie is an Emmy and Peabody nominated investigative journalist and filmmaker. She covers geopolitically conflict, humanitarian crises and the stories of people caught in the crossfire for PBS Newshour, the New York Times, Netflix, Frontline, Time, the Guardian and more. She is currently working on her first feature documentary, following a search for unmarked graves of indigenous children at an Indian residential school in Canada.
  • Executive Producer, Necessary Pictures
    With more than a decade in docs, Heidi is a nonfiction producer/EP whose work has appeared on PBS, HBO, Cinemax, Logo, and HGTV, among others. A self-professed "development geek," her superpowers are connecting dots and discerning "forest" from "trees."

2023 Picture Editing Coaches

  • USA Today (retired)
    Mick is currently the CEO of Mick Cochran Global Enterprises, LLC. Previously he was Director of Photography at USA TODAY, Art Director at The Providence Journal, Assistant Managing Editor at The Charlotte Observer and Photography and Graphics director at The State Journal-Register. His specialties include photojournalism, publication design, copy editing, photo editing, publishing, media law, contracts, staff management.
    "Two sentences, okay, this is one. I’ve been part of the photojournalism scene for 53 years."
  • Senior Visuals Editor, The Indianapolis Star
    Max is the Senior Visuals Editor at IndyStar, and regularly works with USA Today. Aside from daily news and longterm project work, he has coordinated coverage and edited major sporting events including The Indianapolis 500, The Masters, Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the entire 2021 NCAA March Madness and the College Football Playoff National Championship.
  • Public Relations Specialist, Medica Zenica
    In November, Pat retired as Senior Photographer from the Louisville Courier-Journal after 39 years. Over the years he has won many awards for his work including the 2018 and 2005 KNPA Kentucky Photographer of the Year. Pat was a finalist for National Newspaper Photographer of the Year too many years ago to remember. He also won The Clarion Award and shared in the Pulitzer Prize for the 1988 coverage of the Carrollton, Ky. bus tragedy. In 2016 Pat served as photo editor for the Courier Journal's Picture: Muhammad Ali and Picture: Kentucky books and has published three books of his own, Hoosiers, Seasons of Lexington and Louisville and its Environs, with the late Julius Friedman.

2023 Writing Coaches

  • Independent
    Shannon is a freelance writer who has contributed to The New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer and The Lily, and a former features reporter at South Jersey's Courier-Post, Shannon is currently the content director at Opera Philadelphia. In addition to editing performance programs and running the Opera Philadelphia website and social media accounts, she serves as the in-house writer, photographer and video editor.
  • Lexington Herald-Leader (retired)
    Former managing editor, columnist, reporter, editor at Lexington Herald-Leader, Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Associated Press. Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame member, widely published photographer and member of Mountain Workshops faculty since 1995.
  • Beth Feagan
    Lecturer, Berea College
    Beth teaches General Studies at Berea College. This is her seventh year serving as a Writing Coach at the Mountain Workshops Project. Gardening, hiking, meditating, doing yoga, and writing haiku help her breathe her way through this life.
  • Liz Hansen
    Eastern Kentucky University (retired)
    Liz, a former newspaper reporter, taught journalism for more than 30 years before retiring from Eastern Kentucky University in 2014. She has been a writing coach for eight Mountain Workshops.
  • Berea College (retired)
    Libby taught creative and professional writing, including journalism, at Berea College for 29 years. She's published creative nonfiction essays and four books of poetry. This will be her sixth year as a Writing Coach.
  • Brown-Forman Corp
    A former writer for The Courier-Journal of Louisville, Chris now tells stories about bourbon as PR and Partnerships Manager for Brown-Forman Corp in Louisville. Chris is a 1994 WKU graduate and was editor of the College Heights Herald. He grew up in Paris and Bourbon County.

2023 Local Liasons

  • Margaret Layton
    Local Liaison
    Margaret is a journalism graduate and newspaper writer who spent most of her career telling the stories of racehorses such as Seattle Slew, Genuine Risk and Silver Charm at Three Chimneys Farm and Dogwood Stable. She grew up in Bourbon County and has spent the past 15 years telling the stories of Kentucky and equine antiques at Loch Lea Antiques in downtown Paris.
  • Darrell and Debbie Poynter
    Local Liaisons
    Darrell and Debbie are pillars of the community. They met at Bourbon County High School in the late 1960s and are passionate about historic architecture. They have renovated many local properties, including the circa 1882 Paris Train Depot, now Trackside Restaurant and Bourbon Bar.
  • Bobby Shiflet
    Local Liaison
    Bobby Shiflet is a photographer and owner of Frames on Main Gallery. He has photographed the people and landscape of Paris/Bourbon County for more than two decades, and he was instrumental in bringing Mountain Workshops to Paris. He also led the effort to save the Tony Leonard Photographic Collection of Thoroughbred history from being lost.
2023 Staff
  • Colorado Springs Gazette (intern)
    Gabi is a visual journalist currently based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. After a busy year in 2022 consisting of a six-month photo and video internship with MLive: Kalamazoo Gazette Branch, a semester with the Danish School of Media and Journalism in Aarhus, Denmark, and freelance gigs here and there, Gabi finished her bachelor's degree with Western Kentucky University's Photojournalism program in May 2023. She is now expanding westward working as a photo intern with the Colorado Springs Gazette.
  • Kurt Fattic
    Endpoint Engineer, WKU
    Kurt is an Endpoint Engineer for Western Kentucky University’s Information Technology Services. A 1998 graduate of the WKU Photojournalism program, Kurt worked at multiple newspapers before joining the WKU PJ department as a staff member in 2003. Kurt has been involved with the Workshops for over 20 years. He lives in Bowling Green with his wife Jana, son Nate (who is a sophomore at WKU) and daughter Kara (who will be a freshman at WKU next year).
  • Independent
    Kathleen is a New Orleans based photojournalist and documentary filmmaker, who focuses on stories of struggle and injustice. Flynn has spent nearly 20 years as a working journalist, including a decade at the Tampa Bay Times and three years at NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune. She has covered in-depth community news, veterans issues throughout the country, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the tsunami in Thailand, immigration in Mexico, post-conflict Liberia, India’s booming pharmaceutical industry, and the war in Afghanistan.
  • Vis. Comm. Specialist, Springfield Clinic
    Justin is currently a visual communications specialist at Springfield Clinic in Springfield, Illinois. He was previously a staff photographer at the State Journal-Register from 2006 to 2021, covering life in and around the capitol city. Fowler, a native Kentuckian, found his love photojournalism on accident at Western Kentucky University in 2000 and took his first staff photographer position in Janurary of 2006 at the SJR. While studying photojournalism and political science at WKU, Fowler had internships at The Lexington Herald-Leader, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The Naples Daily News and The State Journal-Register.
  • Independent
    Nic is a documentary filmmaker and photographer in Atlanta, GA. With experience in commercial film production, he has developed a love for non-fiction storytelling and the documentary process. He is forever seeking to document fascinating characters, relationships, places, and the narratives they weave.
  • Teresa Jameson
    Accounting, Mountain Workshops
    Teresa is an Air Force veteran who has more than 21-years experience in military journalism and visual information. Her experiences in the military include editing and design of several military newspapers and writing and editing news and feature articles on a vast array of military-related subjects as well as research and design of World War II educational products and memorabilia. She has designed and edited several military history books, pamphlets, brochures and posters. She is the office coordinator for the School of Media & Communication at WKU.
  • Independent
    Sam is a  visual storyteller based in the Washington, D.C. area. When she is not at work, you can find her on the trails, in the ocean, or at the farmer's market obsessing over Swiss chard. Sometimes, when she is lucky, work takes her to these places to document their charm and splendor.
  • Media Cafe Online LLC
    Brian, a long-time visual and digital innovator, award-winning photographer and true friend of the Mountain Workshops is a former Photojournalist-in-Residence at Western Kentucky University, Director of Photography & Editorial Systems at The Flint (Mich.) Journal newspaper, from 1999-2006. Prior to The Journal, Brian worked at the Muskegon Chronicle and was recognized as Michigan Photographer of the Year. He served in various roles on the Michigan Press Photographers Association board for more than two decades.
  • University of Tennessee
    Amy is the Digital Communications Manager for the Baker School at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. She spent two decades as a photojournalist between the Troy Daily News in Ohio, South Bend Tribune in Indiana, and the Knoxville News Sentinel in Tennessee, and even did some time as the storyteller for Zoo Knoxville. Originally from Nashville, she is a 1998 graduate of Western Kentucky University’s photojournalism program. The job may change, but the heart remains the same, finding new and interesting ways to tell stories.
  • Steve Smart
    Senior manager, Deloitte
    Steve Smart, a 1992 graduate of WKU, is a corporate media producer, photographer and editor. He is a senior manager at Deloitte, a global consulting firm producing a wide variety of internal media and marketing communications.
  • Independent
    Michael is a freelance photographer based in Kentucky. Michael's work has been featured in NBC News, The Washington Post, The New York Times and Getty Images.
  • Independent
    Adam is a filmmaker based in New York, NY specializing in short-form documentaries. He produces, shoots and edits. Small crews and solo shoots are his specialty. Adam's clients include The New York Times, CNN, The New Yorker, TED, ABC, NPR, Bloomberg, OceanX, TIME, and The Weather Channel.

2023 Administration
  • Logistics Director, Mountain Workshops
    Jonathan has bounced around in the visual storytelling world ever since graduating from Western Kentucky University’s PJ program in 1993. His favorite newspaper job was in Jackson Hole, Wyoming before being lured away by the money of crazy big weddings. For the past seven years he has taught at WKU and has helped run all aspects of the workshops. Now his main job at Mountain is to make sure everything comes together without anyone noticing.
  • Jeanie Adams-Smith
    Story Director, Mountain Workshops
    Jeanie has been teaching at WKU for close to 22 years and is fueled by inspiring her students to see the best in themselves. She was the recipient of the National Press Photographers Association’s Robin F. Garland Educator Award in 2021, which recognizes outstanding educators who shape a new generation of visual communicators and photojournalists through their lessons.
  • Production Director, Mountain Workshops
    Tim, a 1988 graduate of WKUPJ, has been a professor of photojournalism since 2001 at WKU. He has been involved with the Mountain every year since 1985 and now directs the production side of the workshops making sure your experience is one of a kind.
  • James H. Kenney Jr.
    Director, Mountain Workshops
    James is the program coordinator for the WKU Visual Journalism and Photography program and director of the Mountain Workshops. Though his work is very important to him, it pales in comparison to the greatest blessings in his life – his wife, six kids and two grandchildren.