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Editor’s Note: Encyclo has not been regularly updated since August 2014, so information posted here is likely to be out of date and may be no longer accurate.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:
Feb. 22, 2024 / Sarah Scire
Google tests removing the News tab from search results — News publishers are worried — with good reason — about changes coming to Google Search. AI-generated content replacing links on some of the most valuable space on the internet, in particular, has left media types wit...
Feb. 22, 2024 / Laura Hazard Owen
Most big legacy news publishers across 10 countries are blocking OpenAI’s crawlers, report finds — With The New York Times suing Microsoft and OpenAI for copyright infringement (a case the Times might well win, AI writer and researcher Timothy B. Lee and Cornell professor James Grimmelman argued this week), it’s...
Feb. 22, 2024 / Sarah Stonbely
Wealthier, urban Americans have access to more local news — Is local news readily available in your town? Do reporters still cover your school board and other municipal meetings? If you answered yes, you are likely wealthier than the average American, and you live in or near a me...
Feb. 21, 2024 / Sophie Culpepper
Press Forward adds 11 new local chapters — When the funding coalition Press Forward announced its first six local chapters last November, the MacArthur Foundation said funders wanted “as many communities as possible to join the movement.” Now, 11 more...
Feb. 21, 2024 / Hanaa' Tameez
A new study looks at the positive things that can happen when journalism and comedy intersect — Nine years after leaving the show, Jon Stewart recently returned to guest-host “The Daily Show” through the 2024 presidential election. “He’ll help us all make sense of the insanity and division r...

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: NBC News
NBC News logo

NBC News is a television network news operation, a division of NBC. NBC News’ programming includes the NBC Nightly News, Today, Meet the Press, and Dateline. In addition, the division provides content for the cable news channel MSNBC and business news channel CNBC. NBC News is the United States’ leading television news outlet, consistently ranking…

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 »