Recognizing the transformational power of communications media, and the inadequacy of most efforts to harness that potential for social ends, Damián created La Diaria: a new media space that awakens the muted voices of Uruguay’s youth. In order to attract younger generations – 40 percent of its readers are between the ages of 20 and 34 – La Diaria writers and editors infuse their articles with catchy text and compelling photojournalism, while never compromising the quality of the content. The newspapers is published online and in print.
On one level, La Diaria (The Daily) is breaking the news monopoly currently occupied by a few antiquated media sources. Through it, Damián is redefining both the format and content of the news in order to promote a culture of civic engagement amongst Uruguayans, and most importantly, amongst its younger generations. It is the first newspaper in the country to have instituted the presence of a reader’s ombudsman to ensure accountability. In addition, Damián has created the La Diaria Café: a space where Uruguayans can engage in meaningful debates and dialogue around important public policy issues, and where they take part in a diversity of cultural events. Both the newspaper and the café are providing an environment where youth – who were previously excluded from the public discourse – can participate along with politicians, journalists, and citizen organizations in discussions on such topics as education reform or communication legislation.
On another level, Damián is tackling the significant, but largely invisible, problem posed by the way newspaper distributors control the market. By developing a new newspaper delivery system, and skipping the middlemen, Damián is driving the price of papers down while creating new jobs.
As he was establishing La Diaria, Damián was adamant about not making it simply another ‘alternative’ news-source. His goal, and he is well on his way to getting there, is to turn La Diaria into a ‘mainstream’ newspaper, and transform the way the industry operates. With 7,000 daily subscribers, La Diaria is now the third most read newspaper in the country. Damián is determined to outpace the biggest Uruguayan daily within five years. Thanks to its innovative approach to news reporting, La Diaria’s content is already beginning to permeate other mainstream media sources on the radio, on TV and in the press. Damián is now establishing relationships with citizen organizations in the South of Brazil to replicate the model there.