As of 2019, the country’s written press consist of only two newspapers with national circulation, a newspaper circulating in Managua and a weekly magazine. The majority of newspaper readers are public officials, employees of private companies, civil society organisations and universities or intellectuals. Print media suffer from the small size of the advertising market and the limited culture of purchasing newspapers in Nicaragua. Since 2018 the two national newspapers, have had to reduce circulation and the number of pages, as a measure to decrease production costs, and also reduced their staff.
La Prensa is the oldest national newspaper in the country. It was founded on 2 March, 1926 by businessmen Gabry Rivas, Enrique Belli and Pedro Belli. Politically, it has always maintained a conservative line with catholic values and a strong criticism of the governments in charge. This has cost facing censorship twice, first during the Somoza dictatorship of the 1970s and then during the government of Daniel Ortega in the 1980s.
The other national newspaper, El Nuevo Diario, was founded on 19 May, 1980 by former workers of La Prensa and directed by Xavier Chamorro and the journalist Danilo Aguirre. It was initially holding a revolutionary line, then pro-business and currently criticising the government in power, yet on less conservative tones compared to La Prensa. These two newspapers actually circulate only in the cities, due to the lack of reading culture in rural areas and the high price per copy, which ranges between C$10 (US$0.30) in Managua and C$15 (US$0.45) in the most remote villages on the Caribbean coast. Digital editions of the newspapers can be read on the Internet, however, since late 2018, a subscription system has been implemented, with semi-annual or annual rates varying from US$20 to US$50. Such measure was adopted at the end of 2018, due to the economic crisis that affects the country and the low sales.
Hoy newspaper circulates only in Managua and in some departmental capitals, at a cost of C5 (around US$0.15). It is owned by the business group Editorial La Prensa and was founded in 2003 targeting a more popular audience, with a focus on information about events and social happenings.
Also the weekly El Mercurio, owned by businessman Juan Carlos Aguerrí, circulates only in Managua and is aimed at a popular and low-income audience of low educational level, offering sensationalist information.
Although it does not boast a large circulation, print magazine Confidencial counts on subscriptions from the main decision makers from the business sector, civil society and the international community and is thus a major player in opinion making in Nicaragua.