Close

Support Global Voices

To stay independent, free, and sustainable, our community needs the help of friends and readers like you.

Donate now »

See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

Brazil: Jornal do Brasil Quits Print and Goes Online

Cover of the last printed edition (detail). Blog Diário do Rio

On August 31st, 2010, Jornal do Brasil (JB) [Brazil Newspaper, pt] announced the end of its printed edition and the migration to an 100% online version. The owner of the newspaper, Nelson Tanure [pt], as well as the last editorials [pt] were praising the initiative as a step forward on the way of the future, while on the other hand, the employees were protesting against what could be the first step on the way of the definitive close down of one of the oldest Brazilian newspapers.

Founded in 1891, JB was among the most important newspapers in Brazil at the end of the 19th century and for most of the 20th century. It was also the first newspaper to go online in the country, in 1995. Several of the most notable Brazilian journalists have been part of the team, and, according to federal deputy Brizola Neto, there was a time when JB was a synonymous of credibility [pt]:

“Deu no JB”, por muitos anos, foi uma frase que lembrava o tom de credibilidade de um “deu no NY Times

“Appeared on the JB”, for many years, was a phrase that reminded the tone of credibility of an “appeared on the NY Times

Cover of December 14th 1968, just after the act that institutionalized the censorship in Brazil, From Último Segundo

On Twitter, netcitizens such as @zamuna47 commented on the important role of JB during the military coup (1964) and following dictatorship (until 1985). Alberto Dines – JB’s editor at that time – states in Observatório de Imprensa [Press Watch, pt] blog that at the end of the 60s / early 70s, “even with the dictatorship and censorship as a background”, JB was a very competitive newspaper, referring to an “ultimate journalistic confrontation” between the latter and Globo – the biggest newspaper of Brazil – in what he calls “a meeting of giants, a fight of quality.” Then he regrets the way JB announced its end:

o fim do JB impresso foi confirmado na edição de quarta-feira (14/7) sob a forma de anúncio, publicidade. Aquela Casa não acredita em texto. E o seu jornal morreu sem epitáfio.

the end of the printed JB was confirmed on Wednesday (7/14) in the form of an advertisement. That House does not believe in text. And its newspaper died without epitaph.

Brizola Neto, in a video posted at Vi o Mundo [I Saw the World, pt], recalls an episode in 1982 when journalists of the newspaper “helped undo an attempted fraud in state elections in Rio de Janeiro”, won by his grandfather, Leonel Brizola. In his blog, Neto explains [pt] what he believes to be behind the fall of printed JB:

Dizem que  neste embate ao império global esteve parte do motivo da decadência do JB. Contam que o departamento comercial de O Globo era extremamente agressivo e avançava sobre os anunciantes do concorrente, propondo publicidade casada com outras publicações das Organizações Globo, numa concorrência desleal.

It is said that this struggle against the global [from Globo, the company name – GV] empire was part of the reason for the decline of JB. It is said that the marketing department of O Globo was extremely aggressive and advanced over the competitor advertisers, proposing shared advertising with other publications of the Globo Organization, in unfair competition.

In fact, JB had many financial problems, as Sílvio Guedes Crespo, from Panorama Económico blog, comments [pt]:

O passivo acumulado do JB chega a R$ 800 milhões, a maior parte em dívidas trabalhistas e fiscais.
Segundo o Estadão, o “colapso financeiro” ocorreu no final da década de 1990; em 2001, os acionistas do JB arrendaram a marca por 60 anos à Companhia Brasileira de Multimídia (CBM), que é controlada pela Docasnet, empresa de Tanure. A CBM também havia arrendado a marca Gazeta Mercantil, que deixou de circular em 2009.

The accumulated debt from JB reaches R $ 800 million [reais], mostly in labor and tax debts.
According to [the newspaper] Estadão, the “financial meltdown” occurred in the late 1990s; in 2001, the shareholders of JB leased the brand for 60 years by the Companhia Brasileira de Multimídia (CBM), which is controlled by Docasnet, Tanure's company. The MBC had also leased the brand Gazeta Mercantil, which stopped circulating in 2009.

The first advertisement warning all readers about the upcoming exclusively online version of the newspaper. From blog Radar Econômico.

For Júlio Pegna, from the blog As Sandálias do Pirata [The Pirate sandals, pt], the episode is more like a lesson to the old media itself:

Mais do que apenas a quebra de uma empresa, o fim do JB representa um sinal para a grande imprensa. Mostra como é possivel, mesmo para um ícone, perder consistência financeira quando falta capacidade de visão. Os veiculos de comunicação impressos estarão condenados ao desaparecimento à medida que o público leitor tiver acesso à informação instantânea; a banda larga é o caminho inexorável que irá fulminar o bom e velho jornal. Fica a dúvida de como será embrulhado o peixe na feira livre dali em diante.

More than just the fall of a company, the end of JB is a sign for the mainstream press. It shows how it is possible, even for an icon, to lose financial consistency when vision is lacking. The print media forms are doomed to disappear as the reading public has more and more access to instant information; broadband is the inexorable path that will strike down the good old newspaper. The question is how the fish will be wrapped in the free-market thereafter.

Although saying that most of its readers agreed with the change from paper to an online-only version, a few do not see it with good eyes, like Guilherme Valadares, from Papo de Homem[Man Chat, pt]:

Um marco radical. Resta saber se a guinada vai vingar. Pessoalmente, não considero um caminho acertado. Não vejo o brasileiro, em especial os leitores cativos de jornais impressos, prontos para fazer o pulo 100% para o Digital. Eu deixaria a operação da versão impressa mais enxuta, mas não iria abrir mão da mesma nunca.

A radical milestone. The question is whether the shift will succeed. Personally, I do not consider it a right path. I do not see the Brazilians ready to make the leap to 100% Digital, especially the captive readers of printed newspapers. I'd leave the operation of the printed version leaner, but it would never relinquish it.

Photo from blog Zenello.

On the last day of the newspaper printed existence, many journalists gathered in protest [pt] against the upcoming lay-off of almost half of its employees, claiming that the decision is comparable to throwing the country’s memory to the trash.

Journalist Ricardo Kotscho, who worked for JB from the 70's to the 90's, says that the newspaper was slowly dying out [pt]:

Restavam lá trabalhando apenas 60 jornalistas, a circulação vinha minguando abaixo dos 20 mil exemplares, o jornal já tinha encolhido de tamanho e o passivo chegava a 100 milhões de reais. Alguns dos seus antigos craques hoje ainda podem ser encontrados nas páginas de O Globo. A imprensa brasileira deveria decretar três dias de luto.

Only 60 journalists remained there working, the circulation had waned below 20 000 copies, the newspaper had already shrunk in size and liabilities amounted to 100 million reais. Some of its former star players can still be found today in the pages of O Globo. The Brazilian press should declare three days of mourning.

Leandro Mazzini, from the blog Informe JB posted [pt] his reactions and looks like he is more optimistic over its future:

É difícil mudar uma tradição de leitura de jornais, mas não impossível diante das tendências do presente e do futuro: com a convergência de mídias a cada dia mais essenciais, haverá em alguns anos uma inevitável migração dos impressos para o conteúdo digital (inclusive pelo fator ambiental, tão em voga).

It's hard to change a tradition of reading newspapers, but not impossible, given the present and future trends: with the convergence of evermore essential media, in a few years there will be an inevitable migration from print to digital content (inclusively because of the environmental factor, so much in vogue).

Diário do Rio blog reproduced the reasons [pt] given by the newspaper for the radical change and posted a timeline [pt] of the newspaper's rich history.

This article was proofread by Ricardo Salta.

2 comments

Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »

Guidelines

  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices!

Submitted addresses will be confirmed by email, and used only to keep you up to date about Global Voices and our mission. See our Privacy Policy for details.

Newsletter powered by Mailchimp (Privacy Policy and Terms).

* = required field
Email Frequency



No thanks, show me the site