Journalist and Editorial Leader
Julio (Julito) Ricardo Varela is a seasoned, award-winning journalist and senior leader.
As President of Pulitzer-winning Futuro Media, he was responsible for the business/operations side of the organization and played a key senior leadership role in overseeing the company’s editorial vision. Previously, he was the company’s Editorial Director, leading the teams at Latino USA, Latino Rebels, the In The Thick political podcast, and the Community Podcast Lab.
As Vice President of New Business Development for Futuro Studios, he headed up the division’s new business initiatives, which have received industry accolades and have positioned Futuro as a major player in the premium audio space.
Currently, he is an MSNBC Opinion Columnist.
In 2011, Varela founded Latino Rebels, a top U.S. Latino digital media site. In 2018, Latino Rebels officially joined Futuro Media. He co-hosted In The Thick for eight years, from 2015 to 2023. He was a frequent contributor to Latino USA, and as Digital Director for Futuro from 2015 to 2020, Julio expanded the show’s digital footprint, overseeing historic gains in podcast, online and social audiences.
Before his nine years at Futuro, Julio was Digital Producer for Al Jazeera America’s “The Stream,” and his work has been featured in many global outlets, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The Guardian, ESPN, NBC News, Quartz, Le Monde, WGBH, WNYC, Face the Nation, Fusion, Univision and Telemundo. He has made numerous national TV appearances.
In 2015, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists honored Varela with its inaugural DALE Award, “given to an individual or company that steps up and goes above and beyond to ensure Latinos are fairly and accurately represented.” In 2018, Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción named Varela one of Boston's top Latino leaders.
He was also a contributing reporter at The Boston Globe and a top publishing executive. Varela graduated cum laude from Harvard College.