Professional Fellows Program for Emerging Media Leaders

The Professional Fellows Program for Emerging Media Leaders (PFP EML) is a two-way exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and administered by ICFJ. This exchange program is for media professionals (journalists, technologists, and media entrepreneurs) from Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as U.S. media professionals, who are interested in harnessing the power of digital tools and helping to create and strengthen businesses that provide news and information in the public interest. 

Media professionals from 25 countries throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as the United States, will be competitively selected for the program.  The Latin American and Caribbean Fellows will 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-journalism-specific skills, such as how to build a sustainable business model. 


Meet the Spring 2024 Professional Fellows:



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U.S. Fellows will have the opportunity to participate in American outbound programs to various Latin American and Caribbean countries.  American outbound programs provide the opportunity to interact with media outlets in Latin America and the Caribbean and build lasting relationships with program participants and other professionals. 




The program has two components:

  1. A three-month virtual training series:

Each month Professional Fellows will participate in up to five online training sessions in different topics such as, audience engagement, podcasting, data visualization, digital/physical security, and have opportunities to workshop project proposals with other media innovators from Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States.

  1. An in-person exchange:
  • A two-day orientation conducted by ICFJ. The orientation takes place in Washington, DC where Latin American and Caribbean Fellows will meet each other and participate in sessions on key issues facing the U.S. media landscape. The orientation also provides time for ICFJ to provide further information on Fellows’ newsroom placements and answer any questions they might have.
  • Four weeks of professional placements in newsrooms. The program pairs Latin American and Caribbean Fellows with U.S. newsrooms, digital communications firms, and startup incubators, based on the fellows’ backgrounds, skills, and project proposals.  During the placements, fellows will have opportunities to meet and learn from different teams in the newsrooms.
  • Professional Fellows Congress - The congress is a large global conference that takes place in Washington, DC and is a unique opportunity to network and learn from other Professional Fellows from all over the world that work in various industries.

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2024-2025 program dates:


Recruitment of fellows
February 12 to March 11, 2024

Selection of fellows

2024 three-month virtual training series

Arrival in the United States

Orientation in Washington, DC

Newsroom placement

Travel back to Washington, DC 

Professional Fellows Congress in DC

Depart the United States 

Program debrief (virtual) 

March 12 to May 31, 2024

September to November 2024

May 21, 2025

May 22 to May 23, 2025

May 26 to June 20, 2025 

June 23, 2025

June 23 to June 26, 2025

June 27, 2025

July 15, 2025 (tentative date)

Program Eligibility

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

graphic of a clipboard with a green check mark

✅ Are between the ages of 25 and 40;

✅ Are from one of the 25 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 virtually from September to November 2024; 

✅ Are able to participate in the in-person programming of the Professional Fellows Program in the United States in 2025; 

✅ 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.


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





IJNet Journalist of the Month: Thalie Ponce

February 29, 2024

When Ecuadorian journalist Thalie Ponce graduated high school at 16, two years ahead of schedule, she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do next. 

It was only when she read Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, recommended by a professor during a pre-university course, that she decided to be a journalist

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.
Program Dates
Contact Info

Alexandra Susano
Program Manager

Juan Zuniga
Program Assistant

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