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Editor’s Note: Encyclo has not been regularly updated since August 2014, so information posted here is likely to be out of date and may be no longer accurate.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:
Nov. 11, 2019 / Joshua Benton
Our AR glasses future is a few more years away than some thought — Of all the new interfaces that could conceivably surpass or supplant the smartphone as the center of our infouniverses — voice! VR! chatbots! smart rings! smart refrigerators! — the one that’s always made the m...
Nov. 8, 2019 / Laura Hazard Owen
“The Facebook environment…muddies the waters between fact and fiction” — Researchers attached EEGs to 83 undergrad students’ heads and tracked their brain activity as they analyzed whether fake news stories — including those that had been flagged as false — were fake. While the st...
Nov. 8, 2019 / Ken Doctor
Newsonomics: Nikkei’s Tsuneo Kita: “Without the FT, it wouldn’t have been possible for us to transform ourselves as we have” — Four years ago, the Japanese financial news giant Nikkei sent shocked the global media world with a surprise announcement: It had bought the storied Financial Times for $1.3 billion. “Billion” was a pricetag ...
Nov. 8, 2019 / Laura Hazard Owen
It is still incredibly easy to share (and see) known fake news about politics on Facebook — Can you spot the fake? Probably not! Earlier this week I covered a report that found that U.S.-native (i.e., not from Russia and the like) fake news is actually increasing on Facebook, a year in advance of the presidenti...
Nov. 7, 2019 / Ken Doctor
Newsonomics: How the Financial Times is building mini-brands within the global FT — John Ridding is comfortable in his new office. This year he moved the Financial Times back to its previous (1959-1989) Bracken House digs, after it had been refurbished for the needs of the modern FT. As he approaches hi...

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: Slate
Slate logo

Slate is an online political and cultural magazine founded in 1996 and currently owned by the Graham Holdings Co. Slate was launched by former New Republic editor Michael Kinsley and initially owned by Microsoft — one of the first online-only publications founded as part of a major corporation or media outlet. Much of Slate’s commentary…

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 »