Hard-pressed to find good press

Ever since the rise of the digital age (I can’t speak for how it was before then), Brazil has received bad press in the media. You know, stories on violence, corruption and who-knows-what-else. For lack of a better term, that’s not ‘news’ to anyone. Same thing with Colombia, although I would argue Colombia gets it worse. As of recent, the positive press on Brazil has increased, which is not to say the bad press has decreased, and we can attribute it to the World Cup 2014 as well as the Olympics of 2016, both of which will take place in Brazil. The problem with this ‘positive’ press is that it still barely nicks the surface of what the positives in Brazil really are. You might see an article on caipirinhas, samba and beach life or perhaps something on the Portuguese language itself (as can be found in the newspaper The Guardian for Feb. 11th).

In one sense, I get it, I do…people these days just don’t have the patience to sit down and take in a longer, more in-depth piece (unless it’s on Gangs in Rio’s Favelas, of course). In another sense, I’m quite satisfied with the knowledge that among us bloggers, there exists enough real information, enough of the good stuff, to quench the thirst of any budding Brazilianist out there.

The point of good press though is to be able to grab new readers, to expose them to some place or idea that they may not have considered before. It seems either the bloggers need to be thrust towards the spotlight or the “real” reporters need to up their game because what is coming out of the woodwork these days isn’t cutting it.

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7 thoughts on “Hard-pressed to find good press

  1. I have been thinking about this for a while. As a journalist, I can say it is much easier to write something that matches the reader’s mental frame. It is also easier to have a few sources that you trust and keep interviewing them over and over. Specially because most reporters have very little time to investigate and deliver a good article. Finally, there is a media practice that we call “turbinar” in Portuguese (no idea what would be the English equivalent): you find ways of stressing the information in a way it becomes hyperbolic and, supposedly, more attractive. A problem that is real (but moderate) is converted in a catastrophe. A criminal is converted in a monster. You’ve got the picture.
    Anyways, all these media trends build the country’s international image, a fairly surreal image. And, as you mentioned, Colombia and other countries are victims of the same phenomenon.

    • I think the English term might be ‘to sensationalize’ the situation so that it stands out. It’s sad that news journalism has to go in that direction but as for other kinds of journalism, let’s say, cultural journalism, I see no reason for that to always stay on the surface as it does. Brazil, as you know, is rich with culture and it is multifaceted as well. We’re all tired of the same old images, whether in positive or negative news reporting.

  2. Like jornalists do with violance in Rio because of the shootouts in favelas. I hear from people of other states how they are scared to come to Rio. Even people from SP, which is pretty much the same.

  3. I do agree with you in all your comments, but knowing how the industry works, I understand the mechanism that leads to this and it is not going to improve. The media that can offer an in-depth coverage – newspapers and magazines – is losing territory and publicity quickly, and less budget is allocated to quality reporting.

  4. Since moving to Rio I’ve become a little obsessive with the news here, or rather, the US media’s representation of it. I find that the press there is really frustrating because they are usually pretty uneducated about the subject matter (ie: mentioning samba or the amazon in the same article when totally unrelated to one another or the article topic) most of the time. Aside from that, they do “sensationalize” news a great deal. Watching the final days of the Sean Goldman case was one good example. The media in the US said the kid was “suffering” at the hands of his stepdad & grandma, meanwhile was living in a posh gated community in the Jardim Botanica bairro. “Kidnapped” he was by technicality, but I sincerely doubt the kid was not enjoying his soccer, servant and beach-filled life here, which was never even discussed, instead the media focused on the favelas & violence here, two things the boy was quite far away from. Lately, I’ve seen the US media “scandalizing” this 7 year old who’s going to be the Rainha da Bateria for Vidouro samba school saying the Brazilians are outraged and that sexual exploitation of children is a “serious problem” here. While there is child prostitution happening here, I think on a day-to-day basis, the good majority of Brazilian kids are quite well cared for and protected from being exploited, and I have not seen ONE story on the local TV about the child who has caused so much of a “public outcry.”

    It makes me want to turn off my Google reader. But on the flip side, my g1.com subscription certainly serves up A LOT of bad news themselves. Bad news sells worldwide.

    I am glad to be joining your group of the Brazil-loving bloggers who want to share more than the stereotypes of this amazing culture and place. Now if my [terrified] Mom would just start reading all of our blogs instead of the US headlines, she’d want to come visit someday :)

  5. Pingback: Why popular doesn’t equate to quality « Eyes On Portuguese

  6. as a favela resident, i find it insulting for people to say that I live in a “war zone”..i do not..yes we have problems here, diferent from what the asfalto has, but I do not feel controlled or imprisoned by trafickers here. I come and go as I please and I am very happy with my simple life. I was born and raised here.

    yes we have police invasions about 2 times a year but when I lived in the US i lived in a neighborhood where the crime was far worse and the ghettos nobody had trust of anyone..if you read my blog i compare in my opinion of what i experenced, the diference between US ghettos and my life here in the favela.

    http://lifeinrocinha.blogspot.com

    Unless one lives here in the favela, you never really know what the truth is..

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