José Manuel Fernandes is editor-in-chief of Público, a daily newspaper of which he was co-founder in May 1989. Prior to this he was a journalist on the weekly newspaper Expresso.
He is also visiting professor at the School of Communication and Media Studies and at the Portuguese Catholic University in Lisbon. He is a member of the board of the Press Observer and the World Editors Forum. He has been distinguished with several awards, including the Gazeta Award for Environmental Journalism (1994) and the Portuguese Media Club Grand Prix (1998).

In 2011, he was the moderator of Conference "Europe and the United states of America" (May, 4th).