Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
A Swiss publisher is trying to attract a paying audience with an app sampling stories across publications
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
March 14, 2012, 10 a.m.

How are online media connected in Colombia?

A recent survey shows online media is a relatively young, and growing, industry in Colombia that shares many of the same tendencies and challenges as the United States.

Online-native news operations share a dependent, interconnected relationship with one other, linking, excerpting, and building on one another’s work. It’s that structure that lends itself to people using terms like “ecosystem” when they talk about the state of online media. But if I remember my high school biology right, most ecosystems are clearly defined by their borders and the species and subspecies that live within them. We need a chart. Or at least a good map.

And it turns out, we now have one, at least for Colombia. A collection of journalism and media organizations in Colombia have finished what they believe is the first comprehensive study that shows who the players are in online media, how they operate, and the ways these different sites are all connected.

The report, “Periodismo digital en Colombia: El quien y el comma de los nuevos medios” (“Digital journalism in Colombia: The who and how of new media” — it’s in Spanish), surveys nearly 400 media sites from around the country to learn more about their production, coverage areas, and perhaps most importantly, business plans. The creators of the report, including current Nieman Fellow Carlos Eduardo Huertas, see the study as the first real map of online media in the country. It’s also a glimpse at how, as many differences as there are among media around the world, some things are universal. For instance, you won’t be surprised to learn that Colombian media rely on social media to drive traffic to content, with the majority of sites having presences on YouTube and Facebook (just edging out Twitter 58 percent to 56 percent).

So what else we know? For starters, 74 percent of the websites in the survey launched between 2001 and 2010. Of course that in some ways mirrors the U.S., where incumbent newspapers, magazines and TV stations had a presence on the web in the 90s, but real growth of online news took place in the last decade. In the Colombian survey, the majority of sites are still tied to traditional outlets — 88 of the 391 sites (22 percent) are online-only organizations.

Colombian outlets have the same issues with generating digital revenue as the U.S. counterparts. The report says online advertising remains an elusive target for news sites, with many organizations relying on subscription dollars as well as revenue from training programs. (One interesting tidbit: 67 percent of the sites were launched with less than 5 million pesos, which is roughly US$2,800.)

One of the most fascinating parts of the report is that it shows the connections between the various media outlets, essentially illustrating the role each plays on a macro and micro level. While much of online media is concentrated in the capital of Bogota, sites also cover areas like Antioquia, Vall de Cauca, and Santander, with a focus that you could probably call (hyper)local. At a broader level, what the report shows is that many of these sites, whether local, national, or niche, share a level of interconnectedness. For example, El Tiempo, the country’s largest newspaper, acts as a kind of hub for daily general news, while La Silla Vacía (founded by ex-Nieman Fellow Juanita León) is the facilitator of government and politics news.

The report is well worth looking (make sure you brush up on your Spanish or have good translation software) at if you’ve got an interest in the growth of online media in Colombia or Latin America and what commonalities exist between the U.S. media and the rest of the world.

POSTED     March 14, 2012, 10 a.m.
SHARE THIS STORY
   
Show comments  
Show tags
 
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
A Swiss publisher is trying to attract a paying audience with an app sampling stories across publications
Tamedia’s 12-App collects the 12 best stories each day from the company’s 20-plus publications.
What does it take to be a “full-service” digital journalism organization? Ask Discourse Media
“We’ve gone down lots of experimental rabbit holes.”
Spain’s Eldiario.es has 18,000 paying members, and its eye on the next several million
“We have a potential of six million readers. You may not convince all six million people to be your socios, but if you learn more about their interests, you can get closer.”
What to read next
0
tweets
The American Bystander is trying to revive the humor magazine with a reader-supported business model
“Our idea was that we were going to create one of these things in a classic format and see if there was enough interest to sustain it.”
0Algorithms, clickworkers, and the befuddled fury around Facebook Trends
“Trends are not the same as news, but Facebook kinda wants them to be.”
0With new columns and newsletters, ProPublica is trying to attract new readers and have more fun
“There’s a huge benefit to coming up with features that are more fun and more interesting. It appeals to a different audience and can create closer connections with readers — they can see a different side of us.”
These stories are our most popular on Twitter over the past 30 days.
See all our most recent pieces ➚
Fuego is our heat-seeking Twitter bot, tracking the links the future-of-journalism crowd is talking about most on Twitter.
Here are a few of the top links Fuego’s currently watching.   Get the full Fuego ➚
Encyclo is our encyclopedia of the future of news, chronicling the key players in journalism’s evolution.
Here are a few of the entries you’ll find in Encyclo.   Get the full Encyclo ➚
Facebook
Hacks/Hackers
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Media Consortium
National Review
Quartz
Circa
Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism
Examiner.com
Wikipedia
The Huffington Post
Spot.Us