Meet the Fellows-ICFJ Professional Fellows from Latin America, Fall 2018

Country: Mexico 

Alejandra Higareda majored in communication and has been active in the digital publishing industry for the past eight years. In 2016, Alejandra founded, a digital platform focused on empowering and promoting a diverse, inclusive and positive vision of women and their experiences, as well as being a space of diffusion for the female talent of Mexico and Latin America. As an entrepreneur, Alejandra seeks to break the paradigms of digital media in Mexico and create a project that, in addition to being profitable and scalable, adds genuine value to people’s lives through high-quality multimedia products. Her main qualities as an entrepreneur are creative thinking, problem solving, leadership and teamwork.

Instagram @ale.higareda

Twitter @alehigareda

Grupo Radio Programas 
Country: Peru

Audrey Cordova Rampant was born in France in 1989, in the Champagne region. She is a Franco-Peruvian journalist, photojournalist, filmmaker and digital story producer. When she grew up, she gained awareness about migration because part of her family is from Peru, but she also learned of racism and discrimination suffered by Latin American migrants in Europe. At 19, she decided to move from France to Spain to study journalism at Carlos III University of Madrid, to understand and tell about the migration between Spain and Latin America. She worked for French and Spanish media outlets and specialized in migration, human rights and social issues. In 2014, she moved to Peru to know the country of her father, where she specialized in environmental stories and produced “Behind the Dirty Gold” (Las rutas del oro), the first investigative transmedia project and web documentary about illegal mining of gold in five Amazonian countries. Her project received “Best Camera Reporter Award” from the Institute of Press and Society (IPYS). While she was working for the independent nonprofit news organization OjoPúblico, she was part of the team that led the project “The Highway Tearing Through the Heart of the Amazon” (Roberto Eisenmann Jr. Award in Environmental Journalism, 2017, by the Inter American Press Association);  “The Stolen Memory Project: The Hidden Stories of the Cultural Looting of Latin America” (receiving third prize at COLPIN, 2016.) She co-founded StoryCode Peru, the first Peruvian community about digital storytelling, transmedia projects, and training for professionals and students through conferences and networking. She now works at RPPData, the first investigative area of broadcasting company RPP Noticias. This year she started to teach digital storytelling and transmedia journalism at Centro de la Imagen de Lima.

Twitter: @audrey_cordova

LinkedIn: audreycordova

Country: Panama

Carolina Proaño-Wexman was born in Costa Rica, grew up in Chile, and has lived most of her life in Panama.  After studying journalism and graduating with a degree in audiovisual communication, she worked for several production companies. At the same time, she wrote a column in Weekend magazine, a property of La Prensa newspaper in Panama.  In her column she discussed social issues and pop culture.  A few years later, Carolina continued working for the media group but as a cultural journalist for the main newspaper.  She promoted several reading campaigns for the newspaper’s readers and successfully assisted in placing art and culture on the front page. In 2007, she left Panama and kept working from Europe as a correspondent. In 2010, she developed her own project, “Berlin en español,” which became a very popular online magazine for Latin American and Spanish expats in Germany. Back in Panama, she began working as a press specialist, both for the private sector and for non-profit organizations.  Carolina continues writing digital content. She also collaborates with “Ellas” magazine, the most-read printed media in the country, as well as for other publications in the region.

Twitter: @carolapw

Country: Mexico

Claudia was born in Mexico City in 1988. She is a data and investigative journalist who graduated in journalism at Tec de Monterrey in Mexico City and has a master’s degree in data and investigative journalism and visualization from Escuela de Unidad Editorial and the University Rey Juan Carlos, in Madrid, Spain. For three years she was a financial reporter at Excélsior, a national newspaper and multimedia group. Claudia also covered the stock market for ExcelsiorTV. She has expertise in investigating corporate issues, with a business and human rights perspective. Currently Claudia works at PODER, a nonprofit organization with a journalistic outlet called, where she conducts free investigative journalism about corporate issues, with a special perspective on transparency and accountability.
Work samples: 
Twitter: @clauocaranza 

Country: Guatemala

Daniel Villatoro García works as a trainer in data journalism and digital narratives for SocialTIC (Mexico) and oversees content for Escuela de Datos, part of the global School of Data network. He also works as a freelance reporter and as a consultant for digital projects. He graduated from communication studies in 2015 and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in political science with a focus in justice and security reporting. He worked in Plaza Publica (Guatemala) for seven years, specializing in data journalism and investigative reporting. He has worked for media such as Radio Ambulante (New York), El Faro (El Salvador), Travesias Media (Mexico) and Convoca (Peru). His work has been recognized with the “TRACE Prize for Investigative Reporting” and an award from the Inter American Press Association Award. His areas of expertise are illicit political financing, corruptions networks, and gender and LGBTQ issues. He is interested in disruptive narratives and combining multimedia content for a better engagement with audiences. 
Twitter: @danyvillatoro

Caracol Radio
Country: Colombia

Diego is a social communicator and journalist who was born in Bogota in 1984. He graduated from journalism school and received a diploma in strategic management of communication, information and technology from Universidad de la Sabana. After graduation, in 2010, Diego started working for Caracol Radio, the first Colombian radio, where he was a producer for the radio show “Hoy x Hoy” with Gustavo Gómez, where he oversaw scriptwriting for the show, researching guests (national and international) with focus on the most important news in Colombia and the world. He also oversaw the investigation and development of cases related to abuse, crimes or denouncements reported by the audience of the show. In that year, he also started working in another radio program called “A Vivir Que Son 2 Días.” Diego was the co-creator of the segment “Tejiendo la Red,” the first technology space of Caracol Radio on the air. He was the segment’s host, content editor and in charge of information and guests. In 2014, he started working at “Canal Trece” as a television host/producer of the show “El Crew.” He began as co-creator and host of the segments “En Línea” and “Moviecrew,” focusing on discussing the latest news related to technology, culture and entertainment. In 2015, he co-hosted the “Late Show.” In 2016, Diego created “Las 3 de Caracol Radio” a digital segment focused on a social media audience. A year later, he hosted the television show “Directo Cultura,” a space that was dedicated to the cultural industry of Bogota and other Colombian departments. Right now, he is the producer of the show “La Luciérnaga,” a radio segment at Caracol Radio that analyzes the political news of Colombia, while comedians parody the most influential personalities in the country.
Instagram: @DiegoFero

La Doble Tracción 
Country: Costa Rica

If Clark Kent had a son with Don Draper of “Mad Men,” that would be Ernie (no superpowers though). He is as incisive a journalist as Superman’s heat vision, as daring an advertising professional as Draper, and as acid a humorist as the reflux that many politicians make him have (The things you see at work!). By specializing in transmedia communication and in digital experience design, he has added skills such as graphic design, web programming, gamification, CMI and UX design under his belt. Elton John’s closet summarizes Ernie’s experience. Diverse! He is the founder and director of La Doble Tracción since 2014. This medium offers young people a journalistic mix of rigorous investigation and satirical humor on radio, TV and the web. It addresses national and international topics that range from elections and tax reform, to abortion on film, to terrorism in Beirut and Paris. In addition to over 160 live radio interviews. Ernie has produced and hosted 3 live TV specials. During La Doble Tracción’s first season on TV (2017-18), he produced, wrote and hosted over 24 episodes of games, debates and interviews with Costa Rica’s presidential candidates, including today’s president Carlos Alvarado. You can learn about Ernie more by reaching him through Facebook, LinkedIn, Behance or YouTube.

Zero Hora
Country: Brazil

Guilherme Justino is a multimedia reporter working in print, online and radio journalism for Zero Hora, GaúchaZH and Rádio Gaúcha in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Specializing in education, science and technology topics, he has won three national journalism awards and was a finalist in three others with stories on sustainability, politics and higher education. From 2012 to 2014, he worked for Terra Networks, publishing articles in Portuguese and Spanish on the 17 national websites of what was then the largest Latin American online media company. Other than working in the newsroom, he is currently pursuing his master’s degree in communication and information at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul and participating in a research group focused on media studies. His research interests include information and communications technology, multimedia journalism and convergence.

LinkedIn: guilherme-justino 
Twitter: @guilhermejaj
Work sample:

La Nacion
Country: Argentina

Joaquín was born in Zárate, Buenos Aires, in 1991. He studied system information engineering at National Technology University. First, he started working as a developer in a software factory, then he moved to the banking industry. In 2015, he started working for La Nacion, a leading Argentinian newspaper, which was founded in 1870 by a

former Argentinian president. He started as an editorial system administrator. During the past year, he became specialized in data engineering, providing data to different business areas to guide content production and decision-making. In 2018, he was involved in the content score development based on the interest, satisfaction and interaction of the users with the content of a one-of-a-kind project in Latin America.

Twitter: @JoaquinIbar

Country: Ecuador

Marcelo Ayala was born in Quito, Ecuador, in 1987. He graduated in journalism and social communication in 2011 from the Pontificia Universidade Católica in São Paulo, Brazil. Since August 2015, he has worked in Ecuador as the editor and co-founder of Paralelo, a multimedia company and platform specialized in original journalistic production and branded content. Previously he worked in Brazil as a journalist for the NGO Reporter Brasil; a social media manager and content producer for Procter & Gamble (as a brand managed by Ketchum agency); as a journalist responsible for research and content planning at VICE Brasil. He has been accepted to the Studio 20 master’s program at New York University in fall 2019. Now he is mainly focused on producing high-quality original journalistic content on controversial issues in the cultural, political and social arenas for Paralelo.
Twitter: @Paralelo_Media
LinkedIn: marceloay
Facebook: paralelomedia
Instagram: paralelomedia

Asociación para una Sociedad más Justa
Country: Honduras

Marcia Perdomo Galeas was born in Tegucigalpa, Francisco Morazán (Honduras), in 1986. After graduating as a journalist at the National Autonomous University of Honduras, she started working for El Heraldo newspaper in 2010. After two years as a journalist, she moved to Estilo Magazine where she worked as an editorial assistant, content manager and later as an editor. In 2017, the Association for a More Just Society, a chapter of Transparency International in Honduras, hired her to create online content for their accountability programs in education, health and justice themes.
Instagram: @marcia_hn

Grupo Editorial Metro Libre
Country: Panama

Mario Lara was born in Panama City, Panama, in 1988. This journalist started a career at 20 years old in Editora Panama America (EPASA), the biggest news publishing company in Panama. He began as a reporter and became an editor in a few years. In 2011, he had an opportunity to be part of an ambitious project: build a national newspaper. As in a lab, editors, reporters, photographers, designers and executives shared ideas to create a modern and fashionable newspaper. That experience came from Metro Libre, print and digital national newspaper, which was founded in 2012.  At that job, he started as an editor and then became editor-in-chief at the age of 28. Now, he is responsible for the newsroom operation. He plans the content and coverage of digital and print media and publications according to the editorial policy and also approves the final versions of publications. As a news correspondent, he covers events in Europe and Asia.
Twitter: @mlarapty

Organization: El Espectador
Country: Colombia

Natalia Piza graduated as a journalist in 2009 from the Universidad Javeriana, Colombia, with an emphasis in publishing, where she also teaches a class about the editing of digital publications and is a member of academic investigation group that analyzes information. As part of that group she also develops big data investigations about polarization in presidential elections. She currently works at a leading Colombian newspaper, El Espectador, as an audience analyst. Her master’s degree is in creative writing from Universidad Nacional of Colombia. Since finishing her studies, she has dedicated her career to digital media. Her first job was in one of the magazines of Publicaciones Semana as a digital journalist, and following that, she moved to SoHo Magazine (of the same publishing group). Her career reached a turning point when she started to work in a NGO for LGBTQ rights as coordinator of communication, working in strategic communication for activism, specifically in a marriage campaign and adoption campaign. She then returned to the media in 2016 to El Espectador, which was founded in 1887, to work as audience analyst. She analyzes digital data to help the newsroom to take strategic decisions. Natalia hasn’t completely left behind her background in journalism, as she also writes for the print paper and the website, and at the moment is leading a new podcast project at the newspaper. Currently, she has a podcast called “Esto es Amor,” in which she interviews various personalities on the theme of love.

Twitter: @nataliapizac 
LinkedIn: Natalia Piza Calvache

Organization: Grupo Octubre
Country: Argentina

Nicolás was born in Buenos Aires (Argentina) in 1981. After graduating with a degree in filmmaking, he started working at different media outlets as an editor and designer for a multitude of media including miniseries, feature films, ads, news channels and documentaries. He worked for two of the top three news channels in Argentina (C5N and Crónica) and developed a special interest in how technology and journalism are progressively blending together, sharing the same path. This led him to join the Hacks/Hackers community in Buenos Aires and to be a collaborator at the Media Party, the annual event that gathers more than 2,500 entrepreneurs, journalists, developers and designers from five continents. In 2014, he graduated as an industrial designer, intrigued by the processes of development and research, as well as the relationship of aesthetics with usability. In the next year, he started a personal project called SuperGraph: a news content platform that allows television owners to access the news stories that are relevant for the community where the TV set is being watched.
LinkedIn: NicoRusso

Twitter: @iksoviet

Organization: Enois | Escola de Jornalismo
Country: Brazil

Nina Weingrill is the co-founder of Énois and Escola de Jornalismo. In 2009, she went down to Capão Redondo, the most violent of the impoverished favelas in São Paulo, Brazil, as a volunteer, teaching journalism classes to local youth. There Nina stayed for six months, helping students produce a magazine that was relevant to their worldview and reflected the reality of their lives. The project became bigger, so Énois was launched in 2012, and today it is the biggest free journalism school for Brazilian youth that aims to democratize and decentralize media. A media literacy project to help Brazil know itself. The organization has already been recognized by BID as one of the 16 most innovative startups of Latin America and by the American magazine Good as one of the world’s initiatives that help people move forward. In 2015, they published the first online platform, at, to teach journalism for free in Brazil, now with more than 5,000 students enrolled.
Twitter: @nweingrill

Organization: Managua Furiosa
Country: Nicaragua

Roberto Guillén was born in Managua, Nicaragua, in 1990. He is a storyteller with interests in digital storytelling and transmedia journalism. During his youth, he studied arts and theatre in Nicaragua. After graduating in journalism, he moved to San José, Costa Rica, to study planning for brands and management of audiovisual projects. In 2014, he founded, an independent digital media outlet specializing in artistic expression and human rights. With his initiative, Roberto participated in Emergencias, a global gathering in 2015 about activism, politics and culture in Brazil. In 2017, he produced and directed “Managua Furiosa La Serie,” the first web series in Nicaragua.
Twitter: @guillenroberto

Organization: 2enRuta
Country: Peru

Talía Lostaunau was born in Lima in 1990. She is a forest engineer, but after finishing her undergraduate studies, she discovered that her true passion is in communication. She wants to raise awareness about environmental issues and show conservation success stories through audiovisual material. In 2015, she funded 2enRuta, a conservation videoblog. Although she knew little about communication, she produced more than 60 videos, which were reproduced in her vlog and in a television channel in the United States. The project got more than 60,000 followers on Facebook, and her videos reached thousands of people. Her dream is to create a sustainable platform to show content related to natural resources conservation. 
LinkedIn: talia-lostaunau 
YouTube: 2enRuta 

Organization: El Diario de Hoy
Country: El Salvador

Xenia Beatriz González Oliva is a Salvadoran journalist with over seven years of experience in newsrooms. Before obtaining a bachelor’s degree in social communications from the Universidad Centroamericana “José Simeón Cañas” (UCA), she started to work at Diario El Mundo where she was assigned to cover homicides and cases at the courthouses. She was later transferred to the social area, where she started to work on topics related to the health and education system, women’s and LGBTQ rights, as well as covering the effects of natural disasters. Currently, she works at the data unit of El Diario de Hoy, creating investigative projects from databases. Last year, she obtained a master’s degree in Central American studies from the Universidad de El Salvador.
Twitter: @begoliva
Work Sample:

Organization: El Intercambio 
Country: Guatemala

Ximena Villagran is a Guatemalan journalist specialized in data and investigative journalism at the Rey Juan Carlos University in Madrid. Currently, she is a data journalist and a founder of El Intercambio, a data driven journalism producer, that works in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. Ximena has collaborated with various media such as, Plaza Pública, Soy502, El Confidencial and She was a fellow at the School of Data, and she served as a consultant on access to information and data journalism for several organizations such as Internews and Thomson Foundation, where she has trained more than 200 Central American journalists. 
Twitter: @ximenavillab

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