Professor Silvio Waisbord writes in from his week-long trip to Brazil to deliver a series of lectures about journalism...
I am in Brazil invited by the Associação Nacional de Jornais (The National Association of Newspapers) to give a series of lectures on new trends in journalism. Five cities in five days, from the South to the North. It’s always great to be in Brazil, a country I’ve been coming since my college days. The weather is exceptional, the people are incredibly warm and easygoing, and the geography is spectacular.
This is a particularly interesting moment for a country that has been globally hailed as a “success story” in the past years. The runoff presidential election will be this Sunday, and if the polls are right, Dilma Rouseff of the Partido dos Trabalhadores (Workers’ Party) will be the first female president and the successor of the enormously popular Lula (as President Carlos Inácio da Silva is commonly known). Brazil weathered relatively well the 2008-2009 economic crisis, and is poised for further growth in the next years.
Yesterday I spent several hours talking to editors and reporters at Zero Hora, the largest newspaper in the South and one of the biggest in the country. Coming from the US, where news about the news industry are bleak, to put it mildly, it’s fascinating to hear about the current state of Brazilian journalism. The mood is upbeat. Newspapers are selling, new dailies hit the market in the past years, and readership is modestly growing. Higher newspaper consumption is explained primarily by more demand from low-income readers, a phenomenon also observed in China, India, and South Africa in recent years. Newspapers are hiring journalists. Zero Hora’s managing editor explains that Brazilian newspapers have cautiously approached the rise of online journalism. They have been wary about making all content free. Read the rest of this entry »