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Editor’s Note: Encyclo has not been regularly updated since August 2014, so information posted here is likely to be out of date and may be no longer accurate.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 2, 2020 / Laura Hazard Owen
Why do people share misinformation about Covid-19? Partly because they’re distracted — More evidence for the “little things” column. Last week, I wrote about how little nudges and checks can be surprisingly helpful for platforms that are trying to fight the spread of fake news. And here’s...
July 1, 2020 / Hanaa' Tameez
The Trans Journalists Association launches, with workplace advice and a style guide — On Tuesday, the last day of Pride Month, 50 journalists launched a project to keep with the momentum of the month: the Trans Journalists Association. The organization offers professional support to trans journalists arou...
July 1, 2020 / Joshua Benton
Tribune can buy more time by selling more control to Alden Global Capital — We’ve been telling you for months now that June 30 was going to be a big day for American newspapers. That was the day that Tribune Publishing — owner of big dailies in Chicago, Baltimore, New York, Orlando, Hart...
July 1, 2020 / Hanaa' Tameez
A year and a half in, The Juggernaut challenges mainstream media’s coverage of South Asians — Snigdha Sur always wanted to be a journalist. Growing up Indian American in New York City, she was an avid reader who craved stories about South Asia and other South Asians like her, but those stories were hard to come b...
June 30, 2020 / Laura Hazard Owen
The Wall Street Journal aims for a younger audience with Noted, an Instagram-heavy news and culture magazine — The Wall Street Journal has been previewing Noted, a monthly digital “news and culture” magazine for 18- to 34-year-olds, for the past couple of months, and on Tuesday it officially launched. Noted, whose tag...

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: The Dish
Dish  logo

The Dish is a subscription-based, independent American political blog that also covers culture and society. It was founded by Andrew Sullivan in 2000, and he touts it as one of the first political blogs. Although Sullivan is British, his focus is largely on American politics, along with the occasional post on the arts, culture and…

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 »