By Joe Martin
Brazil is growing economically and preparing for two of the world’s biggest sporting events – the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro. Brazil could become a significant name in business as well as tourism, but the massive country remains largely off the map for most American citizens.
Because of Brazil’s growing presence on the world stage, there is a hunger in the United States and internationally for more information regarding the growing country. Media outlets like Bloomberg, Reuters and the Wall Street Journal are each approaching Brazil differently.
All three publications see a growing trend in the way news is being covered. Instead of the general news stories on the front page of the paper, readers are looking for niches of information that focus on their careers and their personal lives.
Increasingly, Brazil is becoming a part of both conversations, and because of that there’s a high
probability America’s journalism schools will be sending more graduates south in the coming years.
Until recently, Reuters would place its reporters all over the world, and move them every two to three years to prevent a reporter from becoming too attached to a country. But this is changing.
“Journalism itself doesn’t have much value anymore,” said Brian Winter, chief correspondent at Reuters. “What does have value is specialist knowledge.”
So instead of transplanting reporters around the world, Reuters is developing a culture of creating experts on countries, their markets and governments, to help provide the most accurate information possible.
Domestically, Brazilian newspapers are facing some of the same issues as their American counterparts, although not on as large a scale. The country’s television outlets have always been the cornerstone of how Brazilians obtain their news and entertainment. Still, there is a decline in readership in Brazil.
Representatives of the international news outlets all spoke about keys that could potentially unlock a plethora of jobs for new journalism graduates: specialization in business and learning a different language (preferably Portuguese, according to the editor in chief of Bloomberg, Adriana Lyons).
“I need bilingual people,” she said at a visit to the Bloomberg bureau in Sao Paulo.
Bloomberg tailors its news and coverage to people involved in the financial industry. Its Bloomberg
terminal, the moneymaker for the company, delivers the latest news from countries like China and
England, and more frequently, Brazil.
In 2010, Bloomberg began providing its Brazilian news in the native language of Portuguese, rather than offering a mere translation, said Lyons.
As its largest South American location, Bloomberg has 40 journalists in three of the major Brazilian
cities, and most of them are native Portuguese speakers, she said.
“It makes a big difference if you’re covering the country from the country,” said Lyons.
“Bloomberg has a mentality of creating permanent local journalists who are bicultural,” said John Lyons, who is the husband of Adriana Lyons and who works for the Wall Street Journal as its Brazilian correspondent.
This is a common trend amongst American-based outlets. Instead of implanting the unmarried graduate from a j-school in the United States, they’re recruiting Brazilian journalists to learn the tools necessary to write for international outlets, like Bloomberg or Thomson Reuters.
Brian Winter is based in Sao Paulo. He notes that “the gap between information given about Brazil and the information needed is big.”
As Brazil’s economy has grown in the past 15 years, he said, so has the foreign interest in the country. But for outsiders to make major decisions on the Brazilian market, accurate information is needed and the “bench of people to write about this country was thin.”
While Bloomberg is expanding its coverage and embracing Brazil, Dow Jones’ Wall Street Journal is holding steady in its Brazilian coverage.
Even though the Wall Street Journal isn’t hiring more journalists in Brazil, John Lyons said, the “more specialized and smart (a journalist is) on the business side, the more opportunities there will be” for reporters looking for a job.