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Editor’s Note: Encyclo has not been regularly updated since August 2014, so information posted here is likely to be out of date and may be no longer accurate.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:
July 16, 2019 / Nicholas Quah
Apple might be getting into the podcast-making business. Is its reign as the industry’s benevolent overlord coming to an end? — There had been rumors, and there had been increasing reason to believe them. Spotify’s buzzy start to the year, in which the Swedish platform spent hundreds of millions of dollars acquiring its way into the podcast...
July 16, 2019 / Laura Hazard Owen
Email newsletter platform Substack nabs $15.3 million in funding (and vows it won’t go the way of other VC-funded media companies) — The email newsletter platform Substack, which has become home to an increasing number of personal and professional newsletters as creators phase out their use of TinyLetter, announced Tuesday that it’s raised $15.3...
July 16, 2019 / Nicholas Quah
West Coast offense: Los Angeles gets a new hub for podcasting to match WNYC Studios out east — Welcome to Hot Pod, a newsletter about podcasts. This is issue 218, dated July 16, 2019. California dreamin’. This morning, Southern California Public Radio of supposedly sleepy Pasadena — one of the two major pu...
July 15, 2019 / Joshua Benton
What sort of news travels fastest online? Bad news, you won’t be shocked to hear — As the old newsroom saw puts it, a thousand planes landing safely isn’t a story. One plane that doesn’t is. That lens on newsworthiness has always given an edge to negative news — wars over peace, crimes ov...
July 15, 2019 / Christine Schmidt
What’s stopping you from calling something racist in your reporting? Tell this survey (so they can build tools to make it easier for you) — Journalistic language is a funny thing: a mix of official style rules, newsroom norms with fuzzy origins, individual instinct, and whatever the copy desk will let through at a given moment. That intersection is highlight...

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: Reuters
Reuters logo

Reuters is an international financial information provider and news wire service. Reuters is the media division of the Canadian information company Thomson Reuters. Reuters was founded in 1851 and owned by the Reuters Company until its 2008 sale to Thomson. Reuters is headquartered in London, though Thomson Reuters has headquarters in New York City. Reuters…

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 »