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La Diaria

La Diaria democratises newsroom tech in Latin America

La Diaria launched Utopia, an open-sourced platform to allow small newsrooms to manage their entire business, supporting independent media in Latin America.
Journalists working on computers at La Diaria

A mission of access

With its commitment to communities over profits, La Diaria has always led Uruguayan newsrooms in delivering reliable journalism over the pursuit of advertising revenue. In a time when Latin Americans increasingly distrust the media, La Diaria wanted to give a boost to hard-working publishers with limited resources by providing access to media technology that could level the playing field. 'For many years, journalism turned its back on citizens,' says Damián Osta Mattos, Product and Innovation Manager at La Diaria. 'The only thing that can save good journalism on this continent is making it widely accessible, not restricted to an elite.'

Headshot of Damián Osta Mattos
Google News Initiative's contribution to the media ecosystem in Latin America has been a game changer in helping any media outlet or cultural organisation – regardless of size or resources – sustain their work and their communities.
Damián Osta Mattos
Product and Innovation Manager, La Diaria

Building an open-source platform

To democratise access to newsroom technology, Osta Mattos and La Diaria built Utopia, an open-source platform for publishers. Utopia combines a content management system (CMS), customer relationship management (CRM) software, newsletter management and audience engagement modules, and paywall tools in one free-to-use platform. 'We designed Utopia to be a tool to help improve the sustainability of the media in the Internet of the future,' Osta Mattos says. By making it easily customisable, La Diaria hoped Utopia would enable Latin American publications of any size to quickly modernise their newsroom operations and engage more subscribers. Armed with this vision, La Diaria partnered with the Google News Initiative (GNI) in 2019.

  • 300,000 free subscribers across the Utopia platform
  • 19,443 paid subscribers
  • 93% growth in subscribers for La Diaria

Finding a partner with vision

After La Diara received a Google News Initiative Innovation Challenge grant, the Latin America GNI team worked closely with La Diaria to connect them with innovation leaders, strategic guidance and funding opportunities. This support allowed La Diaria to turn its plans into reality. 'It was decisive,' Osta Mattos explains. 'The Google News Initiative saw value in what La Diaria had been proposing to do for a long time, and gave us the resources so we could actually do it.' Soon, the open-source platform was up and running – and transforming newsroom operations across the region. 'We already know that technology is increasingly important in the business of journalism,' Osta Mattos continues. 'If we don’t join forces, it will be difficult to be able to invest in what is needed.'

Journalists working at La Diaria
Journalists working at La Diaria

Reshaping the future of journalism

Today, the Utopia platform hosts 18 different newsletters reaching 300,000 free subscribers, around 10% of Uruguay's total population. La Diaria itself has seen a 93% surge in digital subscribers since migrating its own operations to the platform, and has set a strategic two-year goal of ensuring that 100 per cent of its budget is paid for by community subscriptions. As more publishers make plans to jump aboard Utopia, Osta Mattos is optimistic about where journalism in his region is headed. 'In five years, I believe Latin American journalism will have strengthened its bonds with the communities that support it,' he says. 'And I hope that Latin American media outlets will be using Utopia to share knowledge and technology in support of that journalism.'

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