Central America / Transparency

Roman Gressier to Take Over for José Luis Sanz as Editor of El Faro English

El Faro
El Faro

Wednesday, June 26, 2024
El Faro

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As the five-year mark since the launch of El Faro English approaches, today we are announcing important changes. On July 1, José Luis Sanz will leave El Faro after more than 20 years in which he has served varyingly as editor, reporter, and director. Since January 2021 he has been the editor of El Faro English and our Washington correspondent. Roman Gressier, a Guatemala City-based reporter who has worked side-by-side with Sanz to build the English edition, has been named the new editor.

Sanz, who moved to El Salvador from Valencia, Spain, in the late 90s and joined the newsroom in its earliest years, first served as director in 2004 and then from 2014 to 2020, years crucial to the widening of our international footprint. Sanz has been central to El Faro’s 26-year history and has also coached dozens of reporters and editors in his commitment to strengthening journalism in the region.

Co-founder of Sala Negra, El Faro’s award-winning in-depth project launched in 2011 to investigate violence in Central America, he published groundbreaking stories on gangs and organized crime that are required reading for anyone interested in Central American criminal and social processes.

From Washington, Sanz also penned piercing reports on the Biden administration’s thawing of relations with Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele and broke major news such as an investigation in February 2022 revealing alleged campaign bribes of former Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei, or an exposé in June 2023 of Giammattei’s reported bribery of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal.

Under Sanz, El Faro English, a project he launched in 2019, has grown from its flagship product —our hard-hitting weekly newsletter— to a full-fledged English-language edition producing trailblazing reporting and analysis on the most complex phenomena and processes in Central America and its diasporas. This year, an average of 59.5 percent of our community open every newsletter, our peak annual figure since inception.

“El Faro has been and will remain my journalistic home. I am sure the newsroom will continue to deliver the best and most incisive stories now that the region needs them most,” says Sanz. “Under Roman’s watch, El Faro English will no doubt be key to strengthening El Faro and the international projection of Central American journalism.

“José Luis has been a fundamental part of El Faro since its early years,” says El Faro director and cofounder Carlos Dada. “He has contributed to our growth from every position he has occupied. His work institutionalizing El Faro during his tenure as director proved vital for the challenges we have faced afterward, and for paving the way for our future. Personally, I consider him one of the most accomplished reporters in Central America. He steps aside now, but I look forward to having him back.”

Sanz, a shareholder of El Faro for a decade, will stay on as editorial advisor of El Faro English for a few months.

A regional view

Roman Gressier, a U.S.-French journalist in his fifth year with El Faro, will be the next editor of El Faro English. He began as an intern while at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, before moving to San Salvador in January 2021 as El Faro’s first English-language staff reporter. When the Salvadoran government months later denied him residency, he relocated to Guatemala City.

In October 2022, Gressier broke open the Guacamaya Leaks in El Salvador, a trove of over four terabytes of leaked police and military documents. He has chronicled Guatemalan social movements, with special attention to the rise of Indigenous authorities in the country’s political sphere in the past year, as well as to the state-sponsored efforts to illegally overturn last year’s electoral results in Guatemala — all while authoring the El Faro English newsletter and helping Sanz to edit reporting from around the region.

“Roman was the natural candidate for the position of editor at El Faro English,” says Dada. “He has done wonderful work alongside José Luis, and is ready to bring it to new heights. I am excited about the future of El Faro English. It is a new challenge for him, atop the many he has already faced since he started working with us.”

“I’ve had the privilege of learning from José Luis and many other talented colleagues these last years,” adds Gressier. “The Central American press is responding to great hostilities with innovation and punch. At El Faro English we will dig our heels into delivering El Faro’s well-known and high-quality journalism in the best formats, while keeping our panoramic view of a region whose struggles for democracy are ever interconnected.”

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