about  /   archives  /   contact  /   subscribe  /   twitter    
Share this entry
Make this entry better

What are we missing? Is there a key link we skipped, or a part of the story we got wrong?

Let us know — we’re counting on you to help Encyclo get better.

Put Encyclo on your site
Embed this Encyclo entry in your blog or webpage by copying this code into your HTML:

Key links:
Primary website:
elfaro.net
Primary Twitter:
@_ElFaro_

Editor’s Note: Encyclo has not been regularly updated since August 2014, so information posted here is likely to be out of date and may be no longer accurate. It’s best used as a snapshot of the media landscape at that point in time.

El Faro is the first web-only news organization launched in Central America, and it is based in El Salvador.

It was founded in 1998, as an independent alternative to traditional media outlets, then perceived as highly partisan or corrupt. The original idea was it to be a printed newspaper, but its founders -Carlos Dada and Jorge Siman- didn’t have enough money to run an expensive operation like producing and distributing a daily paper.

What Dada and Siman did have was experience working with Internet, so they decided to launch a website while they could afford to print El Faro. It was a risky idea because in 1998, only 2% of El Salvador’s population had access to the Internet.  It was risky, too, because back then most of the newspapers websites were just a mere copy of the printed edition. So, why would you want to produce original content for the Internet? It was more a matter of principles than of  business (although the founders wanted El Faro to be self-sustainable.)

El Faro (The Beacon) started to shed light over issues constantly overlooked by mainstream media. However, the business model didn’t take off from there. During 5 years, El Faro relied on unpaid staff and on Journalism students who wanted to learn from Dada, a well respected reporter in El Salvador.

During that period of time, Dada and Siman agreed not to accept funds from NGO’s. El Faro didn’t want to depend solely on one source of funding because other media outlets that did so, were not able to continue working after the foundations drew the support. Finally, the website accepted – and still does – money from aid agencies, (like the Open Society Foundations) but only to develop specific projects (elections coverage, e.g.)

El Faro is not profitable but it attracts advertisers. The challenge is big because they cannot compete with newspapers that give advertisers free web ads when they buy ads on the printed edition. However, according to Dada, up to 50% of the website expenses is covered with advertising money.  That revenue stream has helped hiring reporters, editors and photographers. In 2012, the newsroom is formed by 20 members.

The main focus of this news organization is investigative reporting, but also shows how much you can do with very few resources.

Peers, allies, & competitors:

Recent Nieman Lab coverage:
Dec. 8, 2017 / Ken Doctor
Newsonomics: These are the 3 fault lines redrawing the U.S. media business — On the surface, Meredith’s $2.8 billion buy of Time Inc. seems fairly straightforward: Leading women’s marketing company adds more digital and print audience to its roster of Middle America titles, with Peopl...
Dec. 8, 2017 / Christine Schmidt
Here are the seven investigative reporters in ProPublica’s first Local Reporting Network group — From Santa Fe, New Mexico to Vale, Oregon, to Carbondale, Illinois, the investigators are coming — and they’re already in your communities. ProPublica just announced the seven projects that will kick off its Local Re...
Dec. 8, 2017 / Laura Hazard Owen
Facebook’s fact-checking network signs up its first conservative partner, the #NeverTrump-ing Weekly Standard — The conservative Weekly Standard joins Facebook’s fact-checking network. Conservative magazine The Weekly Standard, which has run a fact-checking column for several years, has become the first right-leaning outlet ...
Dec. 7, 2017 / Ricardo Bilton
The “civically committed,” “thrifty transactors,” and “elusive engagers”: a new report breaks down why different kinds of news subscribers pay (or don’t) — When it comes to convincing people to subscribe to or support a publication, there’s not just one funnel, but many. A new report from the American Press Institute offers some insight into the many factors — both ...
Dec. 7, 2017 / Ricardo Bilton
In Seattle, GeekWire is building an international audience on top of its coverage of the local tech scene — In October, a month after Amazon said that it was on the hunt for a new city to launch its second headquarters, tech site GeekWire, also born in Seattle, announced some expansion plans of its own. In search of the “...

Recently around the web, from Mediagazer:

Primary author: Antonio Jiménez. Main text last updated: June 12, 2014.
Make this entry better
How could this entry improve? What's missing, unclear, or wrong?
Name (optional)
Email (optional)
Explore: OpenFile
OpenFile logo

OpenFile was a user-driven local news site based in Toronto, with affiliates in five other Canadian cities, Montréal, Calgary, Ottawa, and Vancouver, and Halifax. OpenFile was founded by Canadian journalist Wilf Dinnick in May 2010. The site relied on users to direct its news coverage, inviting them to start a “file” (the site’s founders chose the term to…

Put Encyclo on your site
Embed this Encyclo entry in your blog or webpage by copying this code into your HTML:

Encyclo is made possible by a grant from the Knight Foundation.
The Nieman Journalism Lab is a collaborative attempt to figure out how quality journalism can survive and thrive in the Internet age.
Some rights reserved. Copyright information »