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Editor’s Note: Encyclo has not been regularly updated since August 2014, so information posted here is likely to be out of date and may be no longer accurate.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:
Feb. 16, 2018 / Shan Wang
Are news publishers directly liable for embedding tweets that contain images not created by that tweeter? — News publishers will now be thinking twice before embedding in articles a certain viral tweet that contains a “full color image” of Tom Brady and Danny Ainge, taken in 2016. In fact, any publisher embedding a...
Feb. 16, 2018 / Shan Wang
Here’s how Google is thinking about surfacing paywalled news organizations in search — Hey, Google — how do we solve the news industry’s various revenue problems? Google gave a preview of some features it’s been working on and thinking about regarding its support for subscription news organiz...
Feb. 16, 2018 / Christine Schmidt
What strategies work best for increasing trust in local newsrooms? Trusting News has some ideas — After six months of investigating thousands of disciplinary cases in dozens of police departments around Cincinnati, Scripps TV station WCPO was almost ready to share its findings on air and online. But the team decided ...
Feb. 16, 2018 / Laura Hazard Owen
Should we consider fake news another form of (not particularly effective) political persuasion — or something more dangerous? — “Most forms of political persuasion seem to have little effect at all.” Dartmouth’s Brendan Nyhan writes in The New York Times that it isn’t that easy to change people’s votes in an election...
Feb. 15, 2018 / Christine Schmidt
GroundSource switched from an email newsletter to a SMS newsletter and actually got responses — Want to connect with and update audience. Spend time perfecting email newsletter. Ask subscribers for responses. Receive zero responses. Sound familiar? This is the trap into which GroundSource, a platform known for its ...

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: Bayosphere
Bayosphere logo

Bayosphere was a short-lived user-driven local news site in San Francisco. Bayosphere was launched in 2005 by former San Jose Mercury News columnist Dan Gillmor and Michael Goff and received investment funding from Mitch Kapor and the Omidyar Network. Gillmor shut the site down in January 2006, and the site was bought later that year…

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.