Hacks are Flacks! Banana-Republican Business Journalism Illustrated

It is especially important that writers verify the spelling of names, by asking. A person who sees his or her own name misspelled in The Times is likely to mistrust whatever else we print. –New York Times, Guidelines on Integrity

Brazil’s Tribunal Superior Eleitoral — its federal elections authority, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the “independent” judiciary — holds a “media training” session on the 2008 elections for “business journalists.”

The source is a TSE press release.

And that press release is itself rather directly symptomatic of the state of banana-republicanism in Brazilian journalism, I think — as reflected in this recent news item: FENAJ: Slain Journo Was “Not a Real Journalist.”

A jornalista Olga Curado, consultora em comunicação e professora da Associação Brasileira de Jornalismo Empresarial, apresentou o painel Media Training (treinamento de jornalistas) na manhã desta sexta-feira (4), aos mais de 50 jornalistas que participam do I Seminário de Comunicação Social da Justiça Eleitoral, em Teresina (PI). É o último dia do evento, realizado para elaborar um cronograma estratégico das ações da comunicação social da Justiça Eleitoral para as eleições de 2008.

Journalist Olga Curado, a communications consultant and professor at the Brazilian Association of Business Journalism, presented the Media Training panel [in English in the original] on the morning of May 4, attended by more than 50 journalists who were participating in the election authority’s First Annual Seminar on Social Communications in Teresina, Piauí. This is the final day of the event, which was held to develop a strategic agenda for social communications progtam by the elections authorities for the Elections of 2008.

The problem? There is no such thing as the Brazilian Association of Business Journalism (ABERJE).

What was apparently once known as the Brazilian Association of Business Journalism is now, according to its Web site, known as the [Brazilian Assocation of Corporate Communicationscommunicações empresariais] — even though it continues to identify itself, on its Web site, using its former acronym, ABERJE.

I have commented extensively in the past on the propensity to report non-existent facts by the “social communications” arm of the TSE. See, for example:

And I have noted before, the anachronistic, Soviet-style labor legislation governing the profession of journalism in Brazil recognizes no formal distinction between journalism, on one hand — in the sense of impartial, complete “fourth estate”-style factual reporting on public cases and controversies — and public relations, advertising, marketing, corporate communications, and state-sponsored propaganda on the other.

If you have a degree in any of those fields — all of which are taught in government-accredited “journalism” programs — you can bill yourself, under Brazil’s atavistic labor statutes, as a “journalist.”

Richard Edelman, Journalist.


Muito Alem do Cidadão Kane (U.K. Channel 4, 1994): Globo bought up the broadcast rights and will not allow the documentary to be shown in Brazil.

Thus, for example, you have São Paulo’s grotesque monument to “Roberto Marinho, Journalist.”

Likewise, the recent blitz of hagiographical homages to “Octávio Frías, journalist.”

See Frias: Speaking Well of the Banana-Republican Dead and Brazil: Editor Fired Over Frías Anti-Hagiography.

In Brazil, you cannot call yourself a journalist unless the state issues you a license to do so — or unless you own the media.

In Brazil, the difference between independent reporting and professional advocacy speech — both legitimate activities, of course, but activities between which a competent news media, in order to preserve its credibility, maintains a Chinese Wall — is suppressed by statute.

As a result, the minimum standards of honety and competence can be minimal indeed.

More recent public policy to the contrary, based on Article 222 of the Constitution, I think it is — see “Anyone Can Be A Journalist” — is dismissed as “lacking adequate jurisprudence.”

Exercising both functions at once — portraying oneself as providing an impartial information service while secretly serving the interests of a paying PR client– is standard operating procedure.

See Flacks, Hacks Back ‘Neo-Reporters’ of the Novo Jornalismo Cidadão, for example.

See also, most notably, the work that InfomediaTV of Porto Alegre has done for Microsoft Brasil:

And Brazil’s scab “journalism” unions are fighting tooth and nail to preserve that status quo.

InfomediaTV, by that standard, is “real journalism.”

The journalist who may have been murdered for outing grotesque political corruption is to be discounted because he lacked a license to practice journalism.

See also Brazil: Why All Content Pipelines Flow To the Sea of Noise.

But Brazil’s “journalism” unions are about as similar to independent trade unions under U.S. labor law as Mexico’s SNTE — the massively corrupt national public education employees’ union run as a personal political fiefdom by Elba Esther Gordillo.

See, for example, Elba “The Teacher” Esther: The Rank and File Fester, and Mexico: The Teacher Reaches for the Golden Apple, on Gordillo’s use of federal subsidies in political slush funds to the benefit of Calderón and PAN.

A consultora falou aos participantes sobre o relacionamento da comunicação social com a mídia, a produção de releases (informações para imprensa) e de entrevistas coletivas. Olga Curado também discutiu com os servidores da Justiça Eleitoral estratégias para planejar a atuação da comunicação social nas eleições municipais de 2008.

The consultant spoke to participants about the relationship between social communications and the media, the production of press releases [in English in the original] and press conferences. Olga Curado also discussed media planning strategies for the municipal elections of 2008 with communications personnel of the elections authority.

Ainda durante a manhã, a chefe da seção de desenvolvimento de soluções corporativas do Tribunal Superior Eleitoral (TSE), Ianeiara Dutra, e a presidente do Conselho Editorial da IT Mídia, Stela Lachtermacher Nardelli, apresentaram o painel Internet e Intranet. Uma das novidades repassadas pela servidora do TSE foi a expansão da infra-estrutura que atende ao site do TSE e dos Tribunais Regionais Eleitorais (TREs), o que proporcionará maior estabilidade à página e um acesso mais ágil. Ianeiara informou, ainda, que há projetos em andamento para que os sites dos TREs , embora compartilhando o mesmo equipamento, funcionem de forma independente; ou seja, se a página de um dos 27 Regionais sair do ar, os demais sítios não serão prejudicados.

That same morning, the head of the TSE’s corporate solutions development team, Ianeirara Dutra, and the president of the editorial council of IT Media, Stela Lachtermacher Nardelli, presented the panel “Internet and Intranet.” One of the innovations passed on by the TSE official was the expansion of the Web site infrastructure of the TSE and the regional elections court. …

Say, isn’t the head of the TSE’s technology division also named Dutra?

On the transparency, in real life, of access to public information at the TSE, see Brazilian Election Tech: Random Notes and “Do Not Open That Black Box”: Alagoas Guv to Election Muftis.

On the media’s promotion of absurd TSE propaganda on the supposed infallibility of Brazilian elections technology, see ‘The First Digital Election’ — barking nonsense from Globo’s Época magazine on the subject — and Brazil: IT Contrarian Burned in Effigy by Elections Inquisition.

For a rebuttal of that mythmaking, see Brazil’s E-Vote: Fernandes on Founding Faith and my Alagoas Techie: Rambling on Elections Wreck.

And see also the garish, and as yet unclarified, case of the Brazilian E-Vote Techie Jailed in Ecuador.

Stela falou sobre a importância da internet como meio de comunicação, principalmente nos órgãos públicos. De acordo com levantamento do Comitê Gestor de Informática, no Brasil, 47,34% dos acessos à rede mundial de computadores são a páginas de órgãos oficiais. Segundo Stela, a internet “é o rádio dos dias de hoje; mesmo que o cidadão tenha acesso à notícia por meio do rádio, aquela informação provavelmente chegou ao comunicador pela internet”.

[tktktktk]

No primeiro painel do Seminário, o diretor-geral do TSE, Athayde Fontoura Filho afirmou que o atual desafio da Justiça Eleitoral é manter a celeridade na totalização dos votos, mas buscando a redução dos custos das eleições. A eleição de 2006 custou cerca de R$ 440 milhões.

[tktktktk]

O encontro, que começou ontem (3), busca definir as estratégias e o plano de ação para a comunicação social no ano eleitoral de 2008.

[tktktktk]

Independent coverage of elections governance by the Brazilian media is almost completely lacking. It is very common — Globo subsidiaries like the Gazeta do this all the time — for news outlets to run the TSE press release verbatim, without proper attribution.

Welcome to banana-republican hell — a future in which Rupert Murdoch owns a more “business friendly” Wall St. Journal. See

 

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