Meet the 2011 fellows

  • Hmong villagers in the remote mountain community of Chom Chieng, Laos, marvel at the photos and videos on the computer screen of ICFJ fellow Bobby Caina Calvan.

  • In Kisumu, Kenya, a man wears a t-shirt commemorating the International Day Against Homophobia.

  • Alma Leticia Miranda Agustín, 10, looks out the window in San Bartolomé Milpas Altas, Guatemala. Alma Leticia and her three sisters were born in the U.S. but moved to Guatemala in 2007 after their father was deported.

ICFJ launched the International Reporting Fellows program in an effort to broaden the number of journalists of color that receive valuable foreign reporting experience.

After a three-day orientation at ICFJ’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., the eight fellows spent up to three weeks abroad reporting their stories. Some chose to write articles while others used video, audio and multimedia to tell the stories. Over five months, the fellows reported from Nigeria, Guatemala, Israel, Southeast Asia, Haiti, Mexico, Uganda and Kenya. The Fellows documented their reporting experience through a Tumblr blog.

They returned to the U.S. to publish their pieces.


Nick Shields tells the story of an undocumented 19-year-old in Chicago as part of a larger narrative on immigration and undocumented students attempting to pursue a college education in the U.S. During his fellowship, Shields visited the young woman's family in Mexico. View the 11-minute story on WTTW's website.


Perla Trevizo spent three weeks traveling through Guatemala’s western states, following the stories of immigrants who once called the U.S. their home. Her main story focuses on U.S-born children who now live in Guatemala because their parents were deported there from Tennessee due to their legal status. The stories are published on a bilingual micro-website that the newspaper created. Trevizo also produced photo slideshows and videos.


Cindy Rodriguez reports on gay Orthodox Jews in Israel -- where homosexuality is prohibited. She tells the story of Areleh Harel, an Orthodox rabbi, who marries gay men and lesbian women who want to marry each other so they can have a semblance of a marriage and live within the guidelines set by the Torah and Jewish law. Rodriguez wrote an article and produced a video for She also published an abbreviated version of her piece on The Huffington Post.


Tina Pamintuan traveled to the Philippines, where she explored a native fruit that is showing promise as an alternative fuel. She also looked into the micro-finance program that is allowing drivers to experiment its potential. Tina reported and produced a radio piece for WAMU, the NPR affiliate that serves the Washington, D.C. region. She also wrote a piece that was published in the print and online editions of The Christian Science Monitor.


Naomi Abraham, a freelance journalist in New York City, reported on the travails and successes of gay communities in Kenya and Uganda. Her stories were published in and focus on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) Africans forced to flee their homes because of hostility against homosexuals and legislation targeting them.
Gay Africans flee persecution and Religious leaders battle African homophobia.


Bobby Caina Calvan, a Boston Globe Washington, D.C.-based reporter , examined tribal medicine in Laos and how traditional beliefs are changing the way the California health-care system treats medical problems in the large Indochinese immigrant community. Story in development. In addition to his fellowship story on tribal medicine, when Bobby arrived in Laos he decided to also pursue a story about an estimated 80 million unexploded bombs scattered around Laos left behind from the Vietnam War. The Center for Public Integrity published the story, “Decades after war, millions of unexploded U.S. bombs haunt Laos.”


Bolanle Omisore, a freelance journalist, reported on the mixed results of a solar energy project meant to improve energy delivery in oil-rich Nigeria where 70 percent of people do not have access to the national power grid. The National Geographic website published the story.


Janell Ross of The Huffington Post tracked the impact of the Obama administration’s Feed the Future initiative in Haiti—as it shifts its focus from importing food from the United States to promoting agriculture in Haiti. Story in development.