Knight Fellows Will Propel News Innovation in Latin America

Mar 52013
  • Knight Fellows will create digital products like InfoAmazonia, a website that uses satellite feeds and other data to track environmental damage in the world's largest rainforest.

WASHINGTON—From revealing webs of influence in Venezuela to promoting visual storytelling in Costa Rica, four new Knight International Journalism Fellows will spread a culture of media innovation in Latin America.

Working as a team, the Knight Fellows will build networks of journalists, illustrators, technologists and data scientists. During yearlong fellowships, they will create or adapt tools that improve the quality and distribution of news. The Knight Fellows will produce a Spanish-language data toolkit for journalists. As thought leaders in the field of media innovation, they will share their expertise on a new channel of the International Journalists’ Network (IJNet). The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) runs the Knight Fellowships, which are funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

“Building on our past successes, our new Knight Fellows have unparalleled digital expertise,” said ICFJ President Joyce Barnathan. “By combining forces, they will power a new surge in newsroom experimentation in Latin America. Our goal is to seed innovation. The results will be deeper coverage, expanded delivery and more engaged citizens.”

The new Fellows:

Mariano Blejman is an Argentine editor and media entrepreneur. He will launch a news innovation challenge for Latin America. He will also upgrade the Hacks/Hackers network by running data boot camps and hackathons. At these events, journalists and technologists will build and adapt tools that newsrooms can use to increase transparency and accountability.

Gustavo Faleiros is a Brazilian environmental journalist and mapping expert. He will develop the Eco News Lab to nurture technology that improves reporting on the environment. He will also expand an online map called InfoAmazonia. The map uses satellite feeds to track deforestation in the nine-country Amazon region. New features will allow news websites to easily generate and embed customized maps on the environment. He will also create a “citizen desk” at InfoAmazonia to gather data from the public on issues like water and air quality.

Miguel Paz is a Chilean digital journalist and entrepreneur. He will expand his Knight News Challenge-winning platform, called Poderopedia, which reveals links among business and political leaders. Paz will bring Poderopedia to Venezuela and to other nations. He will create a cross-border community that uses this technology. He will develop a much-needed data journalism toolkit tailored for the region. He will hold “radiothons,” meetings to introduce innovations in newsgathering and distribution developed in Africa that can be used by Latin American community radio.

Mariana Santos is a Portuguese interactive designer who was recruited from The Guardian in London to join the Knight Fellowships. She will create teams of visual artists, developers and journalists to advance visual storytelling in Latin American media. She will focus on animation and other ways to use data in compelling ways in Costa Rica, Chile and Brazil. She will also mentor a corps of women in this field.

Knight Fellows will regularly blog on the International Journalists’ Network (IJNet), www.ijnet.org. IJNet spotlights the latest global media trends, news innovations, digital tools and training opportunities. It is published in seven languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, Persian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. For more information about the Knight International Journalism Fellowships, please visit www.knight.icfj.org. For more information about IJNet, please visit www.ijnet.org.


The International Center for Journalists advances quality journalism worldwide. Our hands-on programs combine the best professional practices with new technologies. We believe that responsible journalism empowers citizens and holds governments accountable. For more information, go to www.icfj.org.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. More at www.knightfoundation.org.