New Knight International Fellows to Target Digital Innovation in Latin America and Health Coverage in Africa

Nov 122008

Washington, DC --The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) has selected five Knight International Journalism Fellows to lead year-long projects in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America designed to help media provide better access to quality information in the communities they serve.

In keeping with the program’s commitment to selecting the best journalists from around the world as Knight Fellows, the group includes the first Fellows from South Africa, Spain and Uruguay. Three of the new projects focus on improving coverage of health in Africa:

Mozambique: Journalist, media trainer and researcher Mercedes Sayagues of Uruguay will build the first nationwide network of health journalists that links rural journalists with mainstream media in the capital. The goal: to bring essential health news to isolated regions and report critical information from those regions to policymakers in the capital. She will collaborate with health journalism Fellows who have developed similar associations in Kenya and Uganda. For the past three years, Sayagues was based in Johannesburg, where she was chief editor of the Web-based information service PlusNews in Portuguese. The U.N.-supported service is the largest source of news about HIV/AIDS in Africa.

South Africa: Health expert and journalist Mia Malan will create an investigative team to cover critical health issues at the Mail & Guardian Media group in Johannesburg. Malan, a native of South Africa, will work with M&G Media’s Web, radio and print outlets. Malan has trained African journalists to report on health issues for more than a decade, working with Kenya Local Voices and the Internews Network. Before that, she worked as a journalist for South Africa’s SABC Television and Radio as senior national health correspondent. She was also a reporter for the Mail & Guardian.

Zambia: Award-winning health journalist Antigone Barton of the United States will work with the country’s newspapers to develop coverage that leads to improvements in health-care delivery in a country struggling to contain an HIV/AIDS crisis. During her journalism career, Barton has focused on public health, social services and the environment. She recently produced a series on conditions facing sex workers and prisoners in Haiti and the Dominican Republic as part of ICFJ’s World Affairs Journalism Fellowships. The stories, published in The Palm Beach Post, received awards at the U.S. AIDS Conference and from the Society for Professional Journalists.

Two projects in Latin America will use digital tools to ensure that previously neglected communities have access to critical information:

Bolivia: Spanish journalist Celia Cernadas will work with local radio station Radio Fides Santa Cruz to create a digital platform for a network of rural radio journalists. This platform will allow radio stations to share programming about critical issues that affect all of their audiences, vastly improving the flow of information to underserved communities. Cernadas brings to the project an 18-year career as a professional print and radio journalist. She has worked for Spanish public radio and a variety of print media in Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Mexico, Russia, Somalia, Spain and Syria.

Brazil: Working with the ABRAJI investigative reporters’ association, multimedia journalist Adam Raney will help build a network connecting provincial journalists with mainstream media in the larger cities. The goal is to provide local journalists with multimedia skills to cover underserved communities. Raney is a veteran U.S. documentary filmmaker and foreign correspondent for Al Jazeera English, The Associated Press, Frontline/World and Washingtonpost.com. He is fluent in Portuguese and has worked in Argentina, Brazil and the Caribbean.

“We put Fellows in places where there is opportunity for tremendous impact,” said ICFJ President Joyce Barnathan. “Governments have improved conditions in hospitals in Kenya, led environmental cleanups in Indonesia and cracked down against corruption in Mexico because of the work led by Knight Fellows. These new Fellows will build on those successes.”

The Fellows will spend a week in Washington, D.C., undergoing training to prepare them for their assignments. In addition, the group will be honored at a reception at1800 K Street NW, lower lobby, tonight at 6:30 pm.

The Knight International Journalism Fellowships program is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for the Knight Health Journalism Fellowships.

For interview requests, please contact Dawn Arteaga at darteaga@icfj.org or 202.349.7624.


The International Center for Journalists, a non-profit, professional organization, promotes quality journalism worldwide in the belief that independent, vigorous media are crucial in improving the human condition. Aiming to raise the standards of journalism, ICFJ offers hands-on training workshops, seminars, fellowships and international exchanges to journalists and media managers around the globe.