The Nicaraguan Dispatch, an English-language Internet newspaper there, has posted its last edition.
Editor and owner Tim Rogers made the announcement on the newspaper Web site. Rogers, a former reporter for The Tico Times, noted he has spent nine years reporting in Nicaragua. The last two were spent producing the newspaper, which was well respected because of the quality of its news. There were readers in Costa Rica, too.
Rogers, who is an internationally recognized reporter on Latin American topics, blamed economics. He said:
“Launching an English-language news site in an unproven, small-market country like Nicaragua, where less than 10 percent of the population is online and the government obstructs independent journalism, was perhaps a quixotic endeavor. But in the land of windmills, sometimes a frontal charge is the best strategy.”
Without giving specifics, Rogers said he had been accepted into a fellowship in the United States. The farewell piece was upbeat with thanks and recognition for many persons, including Rogers’ wife, Cecilia, and even for the office cat. Some of the thanks went to sponsors. Of the newspaper’s financial situation, Rogers said: “Although we experimented with several different revenue streams — sponsorship, media partnerships, reader donations and traditional advertising — we were never able to lift our head high enough out of the water to figure out which way was land.”
Earlier Rogers was the reporter for The Nica Times, a Tico Times weekly publication that also folded. He said the Web site of the Dispatch would remain live as a free reference source on Nicaragua.
One of the last new stories was pure Rogers. It began:
“With an unfathomable price tag, an uncharted route, unknown environmental consequences, unidentified financial backers, unclear ties to the Chinese government, and an unproven company headed by an unfamiliar man of undetermined experience, Nicaragua’s private Chinese canal project has more than a few people asking 什麼赫克？”
Online dictionaries translate the chinese characters to mean “What the heck?”