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Editor’s Note: Encyclo has not been regularly updated since August 2014, so information posted here is likely to be out of date and may be no longer accurate.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:
June 1, 2020 / Laura Hazard Owen
U.S. police have attacked journalists at least 100 times in the past four days — As Black Lives Matter protests spread across the country one week after a white police officer allegedly murdered a black man, George Floyd, it’s becoming clear that attacks by police on journalists are becoming a ...
May 30, 2020 / Danielle Kilgo
Riot or resistance? The way the media frames the unrest in Minneapolis will shape the public’s view of protest — A teenager held her phone steady enough to capture the final moments of George Perry Floyd’s life as he apparently suffocated under the weight of a Minneapolis police officer’s knee on his neck. The video went viral....
May 29, 2020 / Sarah Scire
Unicorn Riot, a nonprofit media collective, is covering the Minneapolis protests live and close up — When protesters reached the police precinct home to the officer who has been charged with murdering George Floyd, Unicorn Riot was there. The “decentralized” and “non-hierarchical” media organizat...
May 29, 2020 / Laura Hazard Owen
Twitter adds a new warning to a Trump tweet: “This tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence” — As protestors in Minneapolis denounced the murder of George Floyd, an African American man, by a white police officer who pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for five minutes despite his protests that he couldn̵...
May 28, 2020 / Hanaa' Tameez
The types of coronavirus coverage that people want to read are shifting over time — As local U.S. newsrooms approach at least three months of covering the coronavirus pandemic and its impact from home, they’ve also had to adapt to their audiences’ needs and interests. A new report by the Cen...

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)
Chicago Tribune logo

The Chicago Tribune is the 11th-largest daily newspaper in the country and the flagship publication of Tribune Publishing. The paper has been under the ownership of the Tribune Company and Tribune Publishing since its founding in 1847. In 2007 the paper, along with other Tribune Company properties including the Los Angeles Times and Baltimore Sun,…

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 »