about  /   archives  /   contact  /   subscribe  /       
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:
Primary Twitter:

Editor’s Note: Encyclo has not been regularly updated since August 2014, so information posted here is likely to be out of date and may be no longer accurate.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.

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 ) 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 AndroidForMobile Lab coverage:
Dec. 14, 2018 / Soo Oh
Just showing our work isn’t enough — In 2019, I’ll be asking myself one question about everything I do: Is this work core, edge, or fringe? Core work is everything that goes into the central product of a newsroom. For most online and print organizations, ...
Dec. 14, 2018 / Darryl Holliday
Let’s talk about power (yours) — Journalists like to say that we hold powerful people to account. But are we being honest and accountable about the power we exert? Journalists have power. Real, visible, make-or-break power. Expert, investigator and publ...
Dec. 14, 2018 / Marie Shanahan
Newsrooms take the comments sections back from platforms — Journalism’s public trust problem isn’t going away. As the war on truth escalates, news organizations are going to have to counterattack on multiple fronts to win back audience trust. In 2019, journalists will need t...
Dec. 14, 2018 / Eric Ulken
The year you actually start to like your CMS — Nobody loves their content management system. It’s a stubborn truism that’s persisted over the 20-plus years I’ve worked in digital journalism. Not long ago, it was practically sport to compete with friends in othe...
Dec. 14, 2018 / Carl Bialik
Fatigued news consumers will pay more for less news — The profusion of newsworthy events, the unsustainable growth in personal news consumption, and the decline of online advertising will spur more fatigued news consumers to pay more for less news. That demand will spur mor...

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: Gawker Media
Gawker Media logo

Gawker Media is a New York-based network of blogs founded and owned by Nick Denton. Gawker Media was founded in 2002 by Denton, a Financial Times veteran, with the gadget blog Gizmodo. The company’s flagship blog, Gawker, was founded later that year as a New York media and gossip blog. The company quickly expanded into…

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 AndroidForMobile Journalism Lab is a collaborative attempt to figure out how quality journalism can survive and thrive in the Internet age.