20200
P
1
20100
R  E
2
2070
D   I   C
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2050
T   I   O   N
4
2040
S   F   O   R   J
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2030
O  U  R  N  A  L
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2020
I  S  M  2  0  2  0
7

In Brazil, collaboration in a time of state attacks

“Decentralizing major investigations not only makes stories more viable from an economic standpoint — it also extends their reach.”

In Brazil, the growing violence we have seen against professional journalism over the past few years became state policy in 2018 when Jair Bolsonaro was elected president. The head of state attacks the press weekly and has become chief instigator of further weakening of the press in an already polarized context. The violence imposed by Bolsonaro’s government has sparked changes in Brazilian journalism, and that will continue in 2020.

In some cases, that means the further development of current trends. Our predictions a year ago included greater transparency in terms of financing, growing closer to the public, and investments in diversity and collaboration; in 2020, we must double down on those goals. The future will also hold increased dialogue with emerging social movements, on topics from media literacy to artificial intelligence to changes in labor practices.

The intensification of disintermediation, attacks, and threats have forced journalism to make a double move. On one hand, the press endeavors to strengthen its image as a key player in sustaining democracy, emphasizing values that have been historically held dear by the trade. On the other, it’s compelled to reflect on those values in order to fully grasp the idea that it may take new professional practices to enable journalism to maintain its role as a mediator in the complex informational ecosystem of the 21st century.

For the fourth time, Farol Jornalismo and Associação Brasileira de Jornalismo Investigativo invited Brazilian journalists and researchers to ponder what the new year will hold for journalism. The hostility of the current social, economic, and political moment raises the unpredictability in a landscape that has brought hardship to the field in recent years. The upcoming round of local elections add a new layer to the challenges faced by the 10 authors of this special edition of “O Jornalismo no Brasil.”

For Renata Neder of the Committee to Protect Journalists, “2020 will bring enormous challenges to the protection and safety of journalists, especially in regard to the elections.” She emphasizes that Brazil is No. 9 on the Global Impunity Index and that, if authorities follow their 2019 trend, there will be an increase in sham lawsuits, online harassment, and physical violence against journalists. The result will be even greater restrictions on the freedom of the press.

That trend is also mentioned in the prediction of Guilherme Amado, a reporter and columnist at Época magazine, who calls to mind how the change in power impacted the daily lives of those who cover federal politics in Brasília. That new truculence is no longer surprising, however. As a result, the press will face 2020 more maturely, especially after a year of challenges in which, as Amado writes, “coverage of power was turned on its head,” particularly when it came to defending democracy and journalism.

One important recent trend in Brazilian journalism is collaboration. Prompted first by budgetary constraints, it gradually developed into a matter of power. Decentralizing major investigations not only makes stories more viable from an economic standpoint — it also extends their reach. The rationale behind transnational journalism arrived with a bang in the country of continental proportions in 2018, in the shape of Comprova. The trend is expected to spread in 2020 because of the elections. For Comprova editor José Antonio Lima, cooperation between professional media outlets will be fundamental “so that journalism may continue working to preserve public interest and strengthen local coverage.”

Local news is a reason for concern around the world, and it will be one of the most relevant themes in Brazilian journalism in 2020. The outlook is hardly promising: Six out of 10 municipalities in Brazil have no local news outlet, according to the most recent version of Atlas da Notícia, a research project that has been mapping local news in the country for three years.

Nina Weingrill draws attention to an issue that transcends local news coverage and questions the very definition of journalism. By showing how hyperlocal news coverage initiatives fill the gap left behind by traditional media outlets, the cofounder of Énois questions if local journalism is in fact dwindling — or if it is just a matter of looking in the right places. For her, the emergence of “a new dynamic between information and communities” calls “our very understanding of what is and isn’t journalism” into question.

Such initiatives bring to light the debate about the working conditions of journalists. Rafael Grohmann, a Unisinos researcher, highlights the likely aftermath of escalating “entrepreneurial rationalization” in the field of journalism. “There is no such thing as unorganizable workers,” he writes. “Journalists have recognized themselves as laborers and have been trying new ways to organize labor so as to confront an individualistic logic.”

Irrespective of those tensions, Paula Miraglia, cofounder of Nexo Jornal, is adamant: In 2020, “audience engagement will be even more central,” stemming from three core notions: taking the idea of the community seriously, looking at new metrics, and cultivating a relationship with the public.

For that to become a reality, it will be necessary to identify and understand where and how people communicate. Therefore, “studying new distribution channels has become a necessary task for those who produce narratives,” writes Ana Naddaf. The content director of the newspaper O Povo predicts that, in 2020, podcasts will have a major effect on hard news, newsletters will bet on contextualization, and social media stories will be consolidated as a gateway for a new public. Present on 98 percent of Brazilian mobile phones, WhatsApp remains a challenge to news distribution, in addition to being central to the problem of mass sharing of misinformation.

Adriano Belisário outlines a dystopian landscape, not only for 2020 but for the coming decade. The coordinator of Escola de Dados Brasil says to expect “deepfakes” to emerge during local elections. “Videos created by algorithms will become even more common and more sophisticated, creating even greater challenges to the fight against misinformation and manipulation of public opinion,” he writes.

There are two major answers to the problem of misinformation: fact-checking and media literacy. On the latter, Patrícia Blanco, president of Instituto Palavra Aberta, stresses that making journalism open to people is fundamental to their understanding of how it works and its social relevance. “It’s time to open the back door of journalism and break taboos surrounding the profession. We must reveal the step-by-step process, the criteria we use, news outlet guidelines, the authors of the news pieces, the owners of media companies, the names of sponsors,” she writes.

The transparency suggested by Blanco has gained traction among data journalists. Fábio Takahashi, the data editor of Folha de São Paulo, expects “a culture of openly-shared methodologies (and even code)” to become stronger, making “results more transparent and more reliable.” Such practices also facilitate collaboration, as journalists benefit from the work of their peers.

As a response to attacks and discredit against the journalistic practice, transparency and collaboration might transcend data journalism in 2020 and become core values of the trade, opening way to a better relationship with society. Journalism (and democracy) is running out of time.

Moreno Cruz Osório is co-founder of Brazil’s Farol Jornalismo.

In Brazil, the growing violence we have seen against professional journalism over the past few years became state policy in 2018 when Jair Bolsonaro was elected president. The head of state attacks the press weekly and has become chief instigator of further weakening of the press in an already polarized context. The violence imposed by Bolsonaro’s government has sparked changes in Brazilian journalism, and that will continue in 2020.

In some cases, that means the further development of current trends. Our predictions a year ago included greater transparency in terms of financing, growing closer to the public, and investments in diversity and collaboration; in 2020, we must double down on those goals. The future will also hold increased dialogue with emerging social movements, on topics from media literacy to artificial intelligence to changes in labor practices.

The intensification of disintermediation, attacks, and threats have forced journalism to make a double move. On one hand, the press endeavors to strengthen its image as a key player in sustaining democracy, emphasizing values that have been historically held dear by the trade. On the other, it’s compelled to reflect on those values in order to fully grasp the idea that it may take new professional practices to enable journalism to maintain its role as a mediator in the complex informational ecosystem of the 21st century.

For the fourth time, Farol Jornalismo and Associação Brasileira de Jornalismo Investigativo invited Brazilian journalists and researchers to ponder what the new year will hold for journalism. The hostility of the current social, economic, and political moment raises the unpredictability in a landscape that has brought hardship to the field in recent years. The upcoming round of local elections add a new layer to the challenges faced by the 10 authors of this special edition of “O Jornalismo no Brasil.”

For Renata Neder of the Committee to Protect Journalists, “2020 will bring enormous challenges to the protection and safety of journalists, especially in regard to the elections.” She emphasizes that Brazil is No. 9 on the Global Impunity Index and that, if authorities follow their 2019 trend, there will be an increase in sham lawsuits, online harassment, and physical violence against journalists. The result will be even greater restrictions on the freedom of the press.

That trend is also mentioned in the prediction of Guilherme Amado, a reporter and columnist at Época magazine, who calls to mind how the change in power impacted the daily lives of those who cover federal politics in Brasília. That new truculence is no longer surprising, however. As a result, the press will face 2020 more maturely, especially after a year of challenges in which, as Amado writes, “coverage of power was turned on its head,” particularly when it came to defending democracy and journalism.

One important recent trend in Brazilian journalism is collaboration. Prompted first by budgetary constraints, it gradually developed into a matter of power. Decentralizing major investigations not only makes stories more viable from an economic standpoint — it also extends their reach. The rationale behind transnational journalism arrived with a bang in the country of continental proportions in 2018, in the shape of Comprova. The trend is expected to spread in 2020 because of the elections. For Comprova editor José Antonio Lima, cooperation between professional media outlets will be fundamental “so that journalism may continue working to preserve public interest and strengthen local coverage.”

Local news is a reason for concern around the world, and it will be one of the most relevant themes in Brazilian journalism in 2020. The outlook is hardly promising: Six out of 10 municipalities in Brazil have no local news outlet, according to the most recent version of Atlas da Notícia, a research project that has been mapping local news in the country for three years.

Nina Weingrill draws attention to an issue that transcends local news coverage and questions the very definition of journalism. By showing how hyperlocal news coverage initiatives fill the gap left behind by traditional media outlets, the cofounder of Énois questions if local journalism is in fact dwindling — or if it is just a matter of looking in the right places. For her, the emergence of “a new dynamic between information and communities” calls “our very understanding of what is and isn’t journalism” into question.

Such initiatives bring to light the debate about the working conditions of journalists. Rafael Grohmann, a Unisinos researcher, highlights the likely aftermath of escalating “entrepreneurial rationalization” in the field of journalism. “There is no such thing as unorganizable workers,” he writes. “Journalists have recognized themselves as laborers and have been trying new ways to organize labor so as to confront an individualistic logic.”

Irrespective of those tensions, Paula Miraglia, cofounder of Nexo Jornal, is adamant: In 2020, “audience engagement will be even more central,” stemming from three core notions: taking the idea of the community seriously, looking at new metrics, and cultivating a relationship with the public.

For that to become a reality, it will be necessary to identify and understand where and how people communicate. Therefore, “studying new distribution channels has become a necessary task for those who produce narratives,” writes Ana Naddaf. The content director of the newspaper O Povo predicts that, in 2020, podcasts will have a major effect on hard news, newsletters will bet on contextualization, and social media stories will be consolidated as a gateway for a new public. Present on 98 percent of Brazilian mobile phones, WhatsApp remains a challenge to news distribution, in addition to being central to the problem of mass sharing of misinformation.

Adriano Belisário outlines a dystopian landscape, not only for 2020 but for the coming decade. The coordinator of Escola de Dados Brasil says to expect “deepfakes” to emerge during local elections. “Videos created by algorithms will become even more common and more sophisticated, creating even greater challenges to the fight against misinformation and manipulation of public opinion,” he writes.

There are two major answers to the problem of misinformation: fact-checking and media literacy. On the latter, Patrícia Blanco, president of Instituto Palavra Aberta, stresses that making journalism open to people is fundamental to their understanding of how it works and its social relevance. “It’s time to open the back door of journalism and break taboos surrounding the profession. We must reveal the step-by-step process, the criteria we use, news outlet guidelines, the authors of the news pieces, the owners of media companies, the names of sponsors,” she writes.

The transparency suggested by Blanco has gained traction among data journalists. Fábio Takahashi, the data editor of Folha de São Paulo, expects “a culture of openly-shared methodologies (and even code)” to become stronger, making “results more transparent and more reliable.” Such practices also facilitate collaboration, as journalists benefit from the work of their peers.

As a response to attacks and discredit against the journalistic practice, transparency and collaboration might transcend data journalism in 2020 and become core values of the trade, opening way to a better relationship with society. Journalism (and democracy) is running out of time.

Moreno Cruz Osório is co-founder of Brazil’s Farol Jornalismo.

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