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Editor’s Note: Encyclo has not been regularly updated since August 2014, so information posted here is likely to be out of date and may be no longer accurate.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

Recent AndroidForMobile Lab coverage:
Nov. 17, 2017 / Ricardo Bilton
Bad news from Mashable, BuzzFeed, and Vice shows times are rough for ad-supported digital media — Thursday was a rough day for digital media. Within hours, a series of reports, some unofficial and others confirmed, underscored a bitter reality that’s become increasingly harder to avoid: Not even the biggest dig...
Nov. 17, 2017 / Christine Schmidt
Asking members to support its journalism (no prizes, no swag), The Guardian raises more reader revenue than ad dollars — Instead of using tote bags, tickets to live events, or other swag, The Guardian‘s membership program has grown to 800,000 supporters a year and a half after doubling down on its membership initiative. The key? A sh...
Nov. 17, 2017 / Sherwin Chua
Beating the 404 death knell: Singapore news startups struggle to cover costs and find their footing — It wasn’t much of a surprise when the Singapore news startup The Middle Ground announced recently that they were shutting down. The site, which managed to pull in a mere $2,200 a month from patrons, couldn’t sustain ...
Nov. 16, 2017 / Ken Doctor
Newsonomics: A call to arms (and wallets) in the new era of deregulation and bigger media — Quibble, if you will, about the level of degeneracy now afoot in the heart of the Old and New Confederacy, as the Roy Moore saga provides yet more sick drama in the country. That’s a sideshow. What’s quickly ...
Nov. 16, 2017 / Laura Hazard Owen
Knight shares what it’s learned over 10 years of the Knight News Challenge (and announces eight new winners) — Ten years, 190 projects, and $49 million later, the Knight Foundation has released a report about what it’s learned over a decade of funding the Knight News Challenge. It’s also giving eight previous award wi...

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)
California Watch logo

California Watch was a nonprofit investigative news organization that focused on public affairs issues in California. Its work has been subsumed under that of the nonprofit Center for Investigative Reporting, which founded it. California Watch was founded in 2009 and is based in Berkeley, Calif. In March 2012, CIR merged with the Bay Area nonprofit news site…

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.