A.M. Costa Rica celebrates its 11th birthday today. There are about 3,000 archived editions on the server that capture the surprises that Costa Rica has to offer.
Many think that this newspaper is for foreigners who do not speak Spanish. That is incorrect. Regardless of language ability, First World expats here represent a community that has special informational needs. The easy way to put out an online newspaper would be to copy and translate news stories from Spanish-language publications.
That is not what the A.M. Costa Rica staff does. Each news story contains information from original sources. And editors try to provide a unique news report each day tailored to the special needs of English-speakers.
There are some expats here who do not read A.M. Costa Rica. That’s like ignoring the owner’s manual on a new car. Good information is vital to adjusting to a new culture. Reporters and editors try to keep that in mind when seeking out news stories.
That’s why this is the best-read online English-language news source in Costa Rica. A.M. Costa Rica consistently ranks among the world’s top 100,000 Web sites. Tuesday, the newspaper served up more than 33,000 pages to readers, about half outside Costa Rica in as many as 90 countries.
Over the years there have been some consistencies. The
newspaper has been late appearing several times due to electrical or Internet problems, but A.M. Costa Rica has never missed an issue. The pages always have been open to reader opinions. And nearly since the start of publication readers could find the thoughts and views of Jo Stuart in the Friday edition.
There have been changes. There are more pages and more special interest sections, like the calendar, food, lifestyle and five classified pages. There’s even a crossword puzzle. Editors created Costa Rica Report to cover the breaking news provided by other publications. A news feed on Page 2 directs readers to news summaries and then to a translated version of the Spanish-language article. Editors recognize that the staff here cannot cover everything, and Costa Rican newspapers do a good job, too. Summaries and links represent a legal way to providing this information to readers.
Readers owe a large debt of gratitude to the newspaper advertisers who pay for the production of this free publication. Providing this level of news and features is a costly venture. But A.M. Costa Rica advertisers know that they will receive response.
The cost also is great for the staff. Employees, including an intern, have faced a criminal libel charge. As with many court cases here, this one took two years before being thrown out on a technicality. Those who write in Costa Rica face that danger, and staffers here face the threat of a malicious criminal case every day.
The response from readers makes this all worthwhile.