Emerging Media Leaders

Emerging Media Leaders is a program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and administered by ICFJ. This Professional Fellows Program (PFP) is an exchange program for media professionals (journalists, technologists, and media entrepreneurs) from Latin America and the Caribbean to harness the power of digital tools and create viable news businesses that provide news and information in the public interest.

Through the program, media professionals from 21 countries throughout Latin America and the Caribbean have the opportunity to work directly with U.S. media organizations, develop entrepreneurship projects, and improve their skills in areas such as investigative journalism, fact-checking, and podcasting, as well as non-journalistic skills, such as how to build a sustainable business model.

U.S. media professionals also have the opportunity to do study tours abroad, interact with media outlets throughout the hemisphere, and build lasting relationships with other participants and communities.


 The six-week program includes:

image reading: "orientation, 1-week. newsroom embedment, 4-weeks. professional fellow congress, 1-week." with graphics of a light bulb, bullhorn, and an atom
  • One week of orientation led by ICFJ. Fellows receive hands-on training on digital tools and techniques and have opportunities to workshop their project proposals with other media innovators in a safe space for collaboration and learning. The orientation takes place in Washington, DC.
  • Four weeks of professional newsroom embedments. The program pairs fellows with U.S. newsrooms, digital communications firms, startup incubators, based on the fellows’ backgrounds, skills, and project proposals. During the newsroom embedments, fellows will have opportunities to meet and learn from different teams in the newsrooms.
  • Professional Fellows Congress - The congress takes place in Washington, DC and is a great opportunity to network, learn and meet Professional Fellows from different industries and parts of the world.


Sign up for Updates

Program dates for Fall 2023 and Spring 2024 Latin American fellows: 

The selection process for both cohorts (Fall 2023 and Spring 2024) will be conducted together accordingly to the dates below: 

  • Recruitment of fellows:  March 13 to April 10, 2023 
  • Selection of fellows:  April 11 to June 19, 2023 


Fall 2023
Spring 2024:

Arrival in the United States: September 2, 2023 

Orientation in Washington DC: September 4 to September 8, 2023 

Newsroom Embedment: September 11 to October 6, 2023 

Travel back to Washington DC: October 9, 2023 

Professional Fellows Congress in DC: October 9 to October 12, 2023 

Depart the United States: October 13, 2023 

Program Debrief (virtual): October 30, 2023

Arrival in the United States: May 4, 2024 

Orientation in Washington DC: May 6 to May 10, 2024 

Newsroom Embedment: May 13 to June 7, 2024 

Travel back to Washington D.C.: June 10, 2024 

Professional Fellows Congress in DC: June 10 to June 13, 2024 

Depart the United States: June 14, 2024 

Program Debrief (virtual): June 28, 2024

Program Eligibility

The program is open to young professionals and emerging leaders who:

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✅ Are between the ages of 25 and 40;

✅ Are from one of the 21 eligible countries;

✅ Are citizens or permanent residents of their home country;

✅ Are living and working in their home country at the time of application;

✅ Have at least two years of professional experience at the time of application;

✅ Submit a complete application, with all required documents, by the application deadline; 

✅ Are able to begin the Professional Fellows Program in the United States in 2023/2024; 

✅ Are able to receive a U.S. J-1 visa; 

✅ Are committed to returning to their home country after completion of the program; 

✅ Are proficient in spoken and written English at the time of application.


Sign up for Updates




In response to the ongoing global pandemic, the Emerging Media Leaders Professional Fellows program may be offered as a hybrid program with virtual activities leading up to a U.S.-based exchange. Please note: the in-person, U.S.-based exchange is contingent upon favorable travel conditions. In the event there are travel restrictions, or other factors which could adversely impact the health, safety and welfare of program participants, host organizations, and local communities, The Program may postpone or pivot the planned in-person U.S.-based exchange to virtual programming.  Emerging Media Leaders will follow available national and local public health guidance when making decisions related to program activities.

Skills developed in this program:

During the fellowship, journalists are encouraged to develop skills to support their work in a wide range of areas, including:

  • Audience engagement 
  • Data visualization
  • Design thinking
  • Business models
  • Fact-checking
  • Developing a good pitch
  • Investigative reporting
  • Media entrepreneurship in Latin América
  • Online digital security
  • Podcasting
  • Product thinking
  • Storytelling

Bringing Together U.S. and Latin American Media

October 19, 2023

Sebastián Rodríguez of Costa Rica has covered climate change for years. But his ICFJ fellowship in New York at The Verge, an outlet that reports on technology, was a step out of his comfort zone – an important one.

How an “Emerging Media Leader” from Latin America Took His Career to the Next Level

September 6, 2023

Journalist Carlos Mendoza of Honduras is one of the 220-plus professionals from 15 Latin American and Caribbean countries who have had the opportunity to improve their digital skills and develop digital media projects through the Emerging Media Leaders (EML) program, run by the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) and sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.

Reportando sobre los nicas migrantes en medio de la inestabilidad política

January 19, 2023

Regidor propuso a su medio de comunicación nicaragüense, CONFIDENCIAL, una sección dedicada a cubrir la vida de los migrantes. Regidor quería contar las innumerables historias de personas que han abandonado su país. Reconoció que este tema era mucho más importante que un titular. Merecía su propia cobertura y plataforma.

Covering the Lives of Nicaraguan Migrants Amid Political Instability

January 19, 2023

Regidor pitched her Nicaraguan news outlet, Confidencial, on a section devoted to covering the lives of migrants. Regidor wanted to tell the countless stories of people who have left their country. She recognized that this issue was much bigger than a headline. It deserved its own coverage and platform.

Program Dates
Contact Info

Paul Rothman
Program Director

Alexandra Susano
Program Officer


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