Emerging Media Leaders Program Impact

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Over the past 7 years, more than 200 professionals from 12 Latin American countries have had the opportunity to improve their digital skills and develop digital media projects through Emerging Media Leaders. This program, sponsored by the U.S Department of State, with funding provided by the U.S. government, launched in 2015 and is one of the ICFJ’s most successful programs.

A survey conducted in 2021 with fellows from all previous cohorts revealed how impactful this exchange program has been on participants' professional lives. Here are just a few highlights obtained from an independent evaluation:


About the Alumni

As of January 2022, a total of 211 Latin American media professionals (118 women and 93 men) and 46 U.S. journalists (30 women and 16 men) have participated in this program.

In addition, 57 U.S. media outlets from 22 cities and 10 U.S. states have hosted fellows. Dozens of study tours have taken place in Latin America, and many connections have been established between exchange participants.

Check out the biographies of our fellows here.


What former fellows have to say


Luiz Fernando Toledo Antunes - ICFJ PFP Fellow Spring 2018 - Brazil

ICFJ helped me to start a very strong and recognizable journalistic brand in Brazil. After the fellowship I was able to create a project at Fiquem Sabendo in 2018 that now is known as the main reference on FOIA and open data to journalists and has been used thousands of times as source in multiple daily news stories, investigative pieces and Op-eds.



Joana Suarez - ICFJ PFP Fellow Spring 2021 - Brazil

The program was very important for me to understand how I could help even more freelancer reporters in Brazil. Meetings with journalists from different parts of America, with different experiences, and through the mentorship offered, I was able to develop ideas and ways for my project of a virtual newsroom, with journalists from different regions of my country, producing content with impact in national coverage.


Luis Assardo - ICFJ PFP Fellow Spring 2015 - Guatemala

The fellowship gave me the tools and experience to design better collaborative projects and allowed me to discover a clear path to create Confirmado, a collaborative project to fight disinformation.



Larry Ryckman - 2018 – U.S. Fellow from the Colorado Sun

My experiences with ICFJ, as both a host of two fellows as well as my trip to Costa Rica, were tremendous. I learned so much during my visit to Costa Rica, and I had many productive discussions with leaders of the journalism, political and economic communities.



portrait of claudia ocaranza

Claudia Ocaranza - ICFJ PFP Fellow Fall 2018 - México

It has allowed me to meet people all around Latin America and the US and exchange ideas and create a strong network of peers. Also it was a strong point for Univision when they hired me, since I proved I've done work in Miami as my exchange during the fellowship was at El Nuevo Herald.





And here are some cool videos recorded by fellows about the program: 




About the Projects

This program has launched hundreds of media initiatives since 2015. For example, in Guatemala, one fellow created training materials on how to analyze disinformation for journalists covering the COVID-19 pandemic. In Costa Rica, a fellow developed a free audio production guide for independent podcasters. In Brazil, an alumni is now helping fellow journalists and citizens access public data (read more).

To support past fellows and their exciting new media projects, in 2020 ICFJ launched the Alumni Engagement Grant. The program has already supported 20 former fellows to take their projects to the next level. Fellows from seven countries benefited from this opportunity: Panama, Argentina, Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Brazil.

Read more about fellows’ recent projects:

Journalists create media resources with a Latin American perspective

Latin American journalists expand resources to inform across the region

These 5 reporting initiatives in Latin America are changing their communities

The third edition of the Alumni Engagement Grant was announced in the beginning of 2022. Selected fellows will receive up to US$3,000 and bi-weekly mentorship to grow their projects.


This is a program of the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government, administered by ICFJ.