Collaboration is the way forward for Brazilian journalism

“Every post published by a newspaper in its social networks triggers comments that are examples of how Brazilian society is divided and, worse, intolerant. The polarization we saw in 2014 is increasing even more as we enter 2018 — not by chance, yet another year of general elections.”

We Brazilian journalists have to admit that we can do more to contribute to the public debate. Every post published by a newspaper in its social networks triggers comments that are examples of how Brazilian society is divided and, worse, intolerant. The polarization we saw in 2014 is increasing even more as we enter 2018 — not by chance, yet another year of general elections.

Of course, it’s not all journalism’s fault. We are immersed in the same tangle of networks that, according to psychoanalyst Christian Dunker, affects our systems of identification and demand, inflates our egos, diminishes our empathy, and creates hatred in the digital world. At the same time that groups close themselves up in filter bubbles with a false sense of consensus, they also attack whoever puts their beliefs in jeopardy.

Far from feeling sorry and pointing fingers, the goal of this second edition of O jornalismo no Brasil (Journalism in Brazil), a partnership between Farol Jornalismo and the Associação Brasileira de Jornalismo Investigativo (Abraji, the Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism), is to forecast the conditions we’ll see in 2018 and to propose alternatives, in order to write a different story for the year ahead.

The filter bubbles on social networks will not disappear, nor will the lies spread as if they were news. And it’s not only the public that will be affected by these phenomena; good journalism will also be subject to the effects of a society divided and made up of voracious consumers of social media, as shown by researchers Gabriela Zago and Pablo Ortellado. Brazilian journalists should resist the pressure to reduce editorial standards in order to answer a polarized public that demands content for campaigning to share in their social media profiles. But there are ways to win some of these battles. First of all, we must understand how networks work and help our audience do the same.

“Bursting” these bubbles is also possible — using even the very same weapons that trap us inside them. Against fake news bots, for example, researcher Daniel Magalhães foresees “checking bots,” as well as collaboration between newsrooms and media labs as efforts that will help media outlets use algorithms to their advantage.

In this belligerent atmosphere, it will take a lot of skill from reporters to cover the election. Our series points out two themes that will be highlighted in the political debate: public safety and the environment. The former has great appeal to voters and, to escape from “he said, she said” journalism and the “miraculous proposals and magic solutions” that will surely emerge, professor and former police reporter Francisco Amorim bets on data-driven journalism and notions of statistics. His text is also full of practical tips for anyone who will cover the theme in 2018.

Accused of using environmental issues as a bargaining chip, the federal government is expected to conduct more discussions in this area in the first half of next year, predicts journalist Thiago Medaglia, founder of Ambiental Media. Once again, the path of collaboration seems promising, and journalists should be closer to scholars in order to fight misinterpretations of scientific facts.

Improving our products are an important way to confront the industry’s revenue crisis, according to professor and journalist Rafael Sbarai. In 2018, multidisciplinary positions are expected to gain space in journalistic organizations, especially in digital businesses, from where the most innovative services and products in the Brazilian market should emerge.

According to Nina Weingrill and Simone Cunha, from Énois Escola de Jornalismo, the financial health of media outlets is also linked to their credibility recovery. Although the confidence of the Brazilians in the press is still high, these numbers have been falling, following a tendency seen in newspapers abroad and caused mainly by the discrediting on social networks. Partnerships between big outlets and new initiatives, some from the periphery, are expected to increase in the coming year and may help reverse the situation in Brazil. This strategy is a cost-effective alternative in times of increasingly lean newsrooms.

But the most important outcome of this collaboration is the possibility of increasing the public’s trust by diversifying the ways we looks for new stories and the teams that produce them, which are not very representative, a warning note we sounded in last year’s as well. In this issue, we specifically draw attention to the need for newsrooms to reflect on gender inequality in their newsrooms. Veronica Toste, a Ph.D. in sociology, is the one who approaches the subject and presents unpublished numbers recently raised by Abraji and Gênero & Número in the research Mulheres no Jornalismo (Women in Journalism).

Even though politics promises to take up most of the Brazilian news in 2018, there will be, as in every year of presidential elections, a pause in party debates when we’ll turn our eyes to the World Cup in Russia. The huge event will give journalists opportunities to be creative and explore immersive narratives, according to researchers Suzana Barbosa and Adalton dos Anjos Fonseca.

Despite the fact that the prognoses are generally not optimistic, signs of efforts defending the ethical use of technology in elections can already be seen. A public letter was issued this month in order to preserve freedom of speech and access to quality information and to repudiate the dishonest use of false profiles and the propagation of lies masked as news. Among the signatories are journalistic initiatives such as Agência Lupa and Aos Fatos. Focused on the general public, from citizens and candidates to news outlets and civil society organizations, the #NãoValeTudo (#NotAnythingGoes) campaign could well motivate the work of Brazilian journalists and content producers. Let’s make this pact for 2018.

Marcela Donini is cofounder of Farol Jornalismo. Thiago Herdy is a reporter at O Globo and president of Abraji.

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Michelle Ferrier   The year of the great reckoning

P. Kim Bui   The reckoning is only beginning

S. Mitra Kalita   The arc of news and audience

Matt DeRienzo   A recession, then a collapse

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Kim Fox   Audience teams diversify their approach

Jennifer Brandel and Mónica Guzmán   The editorial meeting of the future

Mariana Moura Santos   Think local, act global

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Publishing less to give readers more

Kristen Muller   The year of the voter

Ray Soto   VR reaches the next level

Sam Sanders   Shine the light on ourselves

Rachel Davis Mersey   AI, with real smarts

Jassim Ahmad   Thriving on change

Jennifer Coogan   The future is female

Tim Carmody   Watch out for Spotify

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Jake Levine   The return to now

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Amy Webb   Listen to weak signals

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Andrew Haeg   The year journalists become relationship builders

Nancy Watzman   Know thy TV

Matt Carlson   Attacks on the press will get worse

Tanzina Vega   It’s time for media companies to #PassTheMic

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Sam Ford   The year of investing in processes

Mike Caulfield   Refactoring media literacy for the networked age

Damon Krukowski   Reviving the alt-weekly soul

Luke O'Neil   The end is already here

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Joanne McNeil   Gatekeeping the gatekeepers

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Justin Kosslyn   The year journalists become digital security experts

Bill Keller   A growing turn to philanthropy

Carlos Martínez de la Serna   The new journalism commons

Charo Henríquez   Training is an investment, not an expense

Molly de Aguiar   Good journalism won’t be enough

Dheerja Kaur   Fun with subscription products

Cory Haik   Suffering from realness, pivoting to impact

Matt Thompson   Here come the attention managers

Jessica Parker Gilbert   Design connects storytelling and strategy

Taylor Lorenz   Social and media will split

Federica Cherubini   The rise of bridge roles in news organizations

Feli Sánchez   The year for guerrilla user research

Burt Herman   Things get real

Alastair Coote   The year of self-improvement

Michelle Garcia   Navigating journalistic transparency

Evie Nagy   Pivot to mobile video frustration

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Alexios Mantzarlis   Moving fake news research out of the lab

Lam Thuy Vo   Breaking free from the tyranny of the loudest

Amy King   Let’s amplify visual voice

Andrew Ramsammy   The year ownership mattered

Mariano Blejman   News games rule

Jarrod Dicker   Honesty in advertising

Jim Brady   With the people, not just of the people

Jared Newman   Venture funding and digital news don’t mix

Basile Simon   We need better career paths for news nerds

Sue Schardt   Jump the niche

Nathalie Malinarich   Peak push

Eric Nuzum   Beyond the narrative arc

Rachel Schallom   Better design helps differentiate opinion and news

Helen Havlak   Keywords, not publishers, power the world’s biggest feeds

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Women of color will reclaim and monetize our time

Sarah Marshall   Loyalty as the key performance indicator

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Alan Soon   The rise of start of psychographic, micro-targeted media

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Caitlin Thompson   Podcasting models mature and diversify

Tanya Cordrey   Finally, the seeds of radical reinvention

Joanne Lipman   Journalists inventing revenue streams

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Mira Lowe   The year of the local watchdog

Dan Shanoff   You down with OTT? (Yeah, DTC)

David Skok   Finding an information-life balance

Jim Moroney   Newspapers have to be good enough for readers to pay for

Mario García   Storytelling finally adapts to mobile

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Sydette Harry   Listen to your corner and watch for the hook

Doris Truong   Computer vision vs. the Internet vigilantes

Ståle Grut   Reclaiming audience interaction from social networks

Tracie Powell   The muting of underserved voices

Kelsey Proud   No, no, no

Raney Aronson-Rath   Transparency is the antidote to fake news

Tamar Charney   We get serious about algorithms

Matt Boggie   The intellectual equivalent of the Dead Sea

Brian Lam   Sketchy ethics around product reviews

Ariana Tobin   Too tired to tap

Kinsey Wilson   Facebook and Google: Help out or pay up

Betsy O'Donovan and Melody Kramer   Skepticism and narcissism

Susie Banikarim   R.I.P. Pivot to Video (2017–2017)

Marcela Donini and Thiago Herdy   Collaboration is the way forward for Brazilian journalism

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C.W. Anderson   The social media apocalypse

Kyle Ellis   Let’s build our way out of this

Monique Judge   Letting black women tell their own stories

Alice Antheaume   Are you fluent in AI?

Dan Newman   A return to trust

Paul Ford   Go global

Eric Ulken   The year local publishers get smart(er) about change

Umbreen Bhatti   The trust problem isn’t new

Imaeyen Ibanga   Longform video leads the way

Dannagal G. Young   Stop covering politics as a game

Marie Gilot   No assholes allowed

An Xiao Mina   Memes and visuals come to the fore

Francesco Marconi   The year of machine-to-machine journalism

Usha Sahay   Wallets get opened

Julia Beizer   A longer view on the pivot

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Trushar Barot   The Jio-fication of India

Michael Kuntz   The only pivot that might work

Christopher Meighan   Passive partnership is in the rearview

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Corey Johnson   The pro-fact resistance

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Julia B. Chan   Looking for loyalty in all the right places

Miguel Castro   The arrival of the impact producer

Caitria O'Neill   The new court of public opinion

Rubina Madan Fillion   Unlocking the potential of AI

Rodney Benson   Better, less read, and less trusted

Laura E. Davis   Writing answers before you know the question

Heather Bryant   Building the ecosystems for collaboration

Zizi Papacharissi   Women come back

Adam Thomas   Sharing is caring: The year of the mentor

Hannah Cassius   The year of the echo-chamber escapists

Juliette De Maeyer   A responsible press criticism

Corey Ford   The empire strikes back

Joyce Barnathan   It will be harder to bury the news

Emma Carew Grovum   Newsroom culture becomes a priority

Nicholas Quah   Stop talking trash about young people

Raju Narisetti   Mirror, mirror on the wall

Rick Berke   Value is the watchword

Emily Goligoski   Looking beyond news for inspiration

Craig Newmark   Working together toward sustainable solutions

Pete Brown   Push alerts, personalized

Carrie Brown-Smith   Transparency finally takes off

Richard J. Tofel   The platforms’ power demands more reporters’ attention

Mandy Velez   texting is lit rn, fam

Daniel Trielli   The rich get richer, the poor scramble

José Zamora   Revenue-first journalism

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Lucas Graves   From algorithms to institutions

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Edward Roussel   Eyes, ears, and brains

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Steve Grove   The midterms are an opportunity

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John Keefe   Scooped by AI