Photo by Madeleine Bair


El Tímpano works in collaboration with Oakland residents and community partners to create empowering, two-way channels of information.

El Tímpano’s methods of civic engagement include a community microphone that travels the streets, libraries, churches, and laundromats of East Oakland to gather residents’ stories on pressing issues, and an SMS-based reporting platform to provide timely information and facilitate conversation. Through these and other innovative, community-driven approaches that leverage the tools, experiences, and assets of Oakland’s Latino immigrants, El Tímpano seeks to foster civic engagement and political empowerment while building more inclusive local media.  

Community-Driven Design

El Tímpano launched in 2018 after a nine-month deep listening process. We spoke with two-dozen community leaders and 300 residents to hear what they want to see in local, Spanish-language media. Our resulting report, “Más Información: Information Needs of Latino Immigrants in Oakland, California,” identifies existing channels of news and information, and shares ideas—many from residents we talked to—of how to fill some of the gaps in local news. El Tímpano’s editorial priorities and distribution strategies are shaped by what we heard, and will continue to be informed by ongoing conversations with community members.


  • We believe that no one is better equipped to report on a community than members of the community themselves.

  • We believe that journalism should make an impact, that it should empower people to be active in their communities and make informed decisions for the health and safety of their families.

  • We subscribe to James Carey’s view of the journalistic imperative, summarized by Jay Rosen:

“The press does not ‘inform’ the public. It is ‘the public’ that ought to inform the press. The true subject matter of journalism is the conversation the public is having with itself.”


Our Team

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Madeleine Bair

Founding director


Mario Corea

Community Outreach Coordinator


Henry Sales

Mam Community Outreach Assistant


Paul Caicedo

Graphic Designer


Vanessa Nava

Editorial Assistant


José Luis Caicedo



Sophie Lan Hou

Design Strategist


Circle of Advisors


Daniela Gerson

Founding Editor, Alhambra Source


Samuel Orozco

News Director, Radio Bilingüe


Josue Rojas

Executive Director, Accion Latina


Jesse Hardman

Founder, Listening Post Collective



El Tímpano is fiscally sponsored by independent arts & media, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.