Globosat: Must-See TV On the Av. Paulista

The Embaixada dos Estados Unidos no Brasil — I have to go visit the consultate this work for some paperwork, so I go visit the Web site.

If you call the consulate for information, their (outsourced, local) call center just politely refers you to the Web site. Nice work if you can get it.

Which like many government Web sites is not all that helpful, I have to say. It does inform me that it is recommended, but not required, to register with the consulate while I am living here. You can do that online now. I will give that a try, but it would be nicer if the services I actually needed were as easy to obtain.

Consular officers also perform non-emergency services, helping Americans with absentee voting, selective service registration, receiving federal benefits, and filing U.S. tax forms. Consular officers can notarize documents, issue passports, and register American children born abroad. Most embassies and consulates have web sites with more information.

Most? Not all? These are among the sorts of things I need to get done, in fact.

Uh, oh, I may need to get a move on:

The U.S. Embassy in Brasilia would like to inform the public that the Consular Section at the US Embassy in Brasilia will be closed for construction October 15-26, 2007. Also, the Consular Citibank booth which collects visa application fees will remain closed until January 10, 2008.

Citibank is the official visa fee payment provider for the U.S. government? God help us all. Let me tell you a bit about my latest consumer experience with Citibank down here … in a bit.

The São Paulo consulate reports (September 20):

Five experienced broadcast journalists spent a week working side-by-side with 30 students from São Paulo’s Casper Libero School of Communication September 10-15 offering them hands-on training on all stages of producing news. Under the supervision of the professionals students developed two 15-minute newscasts (one for the morning class and another one for the evening class) which were presented to the entire class at the end of the week. This successful broadcast journalism workshop is an intitiative of the U.S. Consulate in São Paulo and is in its fourth year.

My wife is an alumna of Casper Líbero — as is Globo’s William Bonner, anchor of the Jornal Nacional, and one of the anchors of Globo’s Fantástico, who was actually in my wife’s graduating class, I think.

The press section of the consulate is in charge of identifying the appropriate U.S. professionals to teach students, then inviting them to participate in the project and making sure the workshop … [lacuna in the original?]  This year the professionals who participated were Assignment Manager Charlie Bragale, Photojournalist Luis Urbina, Executive-Producer Margie Ruttenberg, Reporter Miguel Almaguer and International Correspondent Luis Fernando Silva Pinto. All of them consider the workshop a volunteer work and used their vacation time to came to São Paulo and share their experience with the next generation of Brazilian journalists.

Charlie Bragale of NBC4, Washington, D.C., that is — formerly of WGR-TV, Buffalo.

Luis Urbina is also from NBC4, Washington, D.C.

Ruttenberg also works for News4 in D.C.

Almaguer joined News4 (NBC, Washington, DC) in May 2006 after working for KCRA-TV in Sacramento for three years. In his first year there, Almaguer was honored with the Edward R. Murrow Award for his spot news coverage of the wildfires that threatened Southern California. In 2005, the station dispatched Almaguer to the Gulf region to cover the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. A native of Berkeley, Calif., Almaguer graduated with high honors from San Francisco State University with a degree in broadcast communications. His first job in television was with KSBW-TV in Salinas, Calif.

Why, according to the “press section” of the U.S. Embassy, do all “appropriate choices” for working with hand-picked, up-and-coming Brazilian journalisms work for NBC in Washington, D.C?

Why not, send, say, the team from NY1 in New York? KTLA, Los Angeles? KSNO, Juneau, Alaska? CNN? PBS Frontline? Amy Goodman? The Daily Show? (None of the New York-based purveyors of Brazilian cosmpolitanism ever seem to write about Jon Stewart, strikingly. Maybe Gianni Carta — whose columns from the Big Apple sometime actually do resemble real life in the big city, to his credit — has.)

Silva Pinto works for GNT, a Globosat channel, and reportedly — a rapid google says — helped found Scientia, a program on developments in U.S. technology. (I am reading this off the network’s Wikipedia page — author anonymous, but the patented NMM “PhReaking” test — google for instances of “self-plagiarism” — suggests it is GNT-produced stealth marketing.

He is now the network’s Washington correspondent, where he has hosted a program called América, América.

Tied in with Globo’s primetime soap opera América, as I recall — which I watched some of at the time; the absurdity of it made me laugh so hard that beer shot out of my nose — but let me check.

The channel also airs Manhattan Connection with Diogo Mainardi (intro segment, above).

Its Portuguese affiliate rebroadcasts Globo’s Jornal Nacional in Europe, while in Brasil, it is currently promoting a (dubbed, I assume — “an invention of Italian fascism, dubbing,” as Rubem Fonseca remarks) version of David Letterman’s first appearance on Oprah!

Globo’s Jô Soares does an unbelievably bad version of the Letterman show, which Letterman once featured on his own late-night program (on CBS, formerly on NBC), I recall.

We know GNT best for Multishow.

Which I think is just awful.

But then I tend to be one of those “kill your TV” types, as you know.

My wife kind of likes Saia Justa (“tight skirt”), though — a grrrl-talk chat show featuring our vereadora, the former MTV veejay Soninha, replacing Os Mutantes singer Rita Lee. Or did Rita make a comeback?

And she often watches the Marilia Gabriela show as well, also on GNT.

I remember watching an adoring interview by the Globo “journalist-actress-singer” — come again? — with Marina Maggessi, when the Rio police intelligence division inspector and frequently quote-giving public safety media pundit was running for Congress.

Later on, things got a little bit sticky for Marina:

Alexandre Neto of the state police’s antikidnapping division in Rio, shot this Sunday afternoon, is the author of a dossier on illegal activities involving a group of police in Riostate. The police allegedly have ties to former state police chief and state lawmaker Álvaro Lins (PMDB) and the “nickel-hunter” mafia.

Curbside assassination attempt in Copacabana.

Blew some of the guy’s fingers off. You know, that classic defensive wound pattern.

In April of this year, a federal police wiretap showed federal deputy Marina Maggessi, who is on leave from her police post, suggesting that her fellow officer [Neto] should receive “a ton of bullets in the head.” She was talking to a police inspector who has been accused of mafia involvement.

The federal lawmaker pointed to Neto as responsible for leaking information on federal police investigation into police allegedly involved in the “nickel-hunter” gambling business. The converation took place on October 31 last year, after Maggessi had been elected, but before she took office. She was talking to Hélio Machado, one of the police inspectors arrested late last year in Operation Gladiator.

Helio is accused of providing protection to one of the “nickel hunter” mobs, as is Lins and another two inspectors, a group known as “the Inhos” — a reference to the diminutive ending of all their nicknames. The wiretaps were part of a federal police probe.

At the time Maggessi said “I would never kill anyone,” but did confirm she “felt like” killing Neto. Not illegal, she said.

It was a figure of speech.

See

Still waiting for the other shoe to drop on that one.

So is Globo doing, or have, some kind of deal with MSNBC, do you think?

Because “must-see TV” content flowing down the pipeline from there to here is one thing.

But I shudder to think of Ali Kamel-style disinfotainment, stealth marketing, and the Murdoch-Marinho way of using the gazillion-jigawatt megaphone as a business lobbying tool flowing in the other direction.

Rupert Murdoch is a spring lamb of benign intentions next to these people. As Paulo Francis once observed:

O Brasil sempre foi a casa da mãe Joana de elites sub-reptícias que fazem o que querem. (Brazil has always been a backwater whose backstabbing elites do whatever they please)

Last year’s event embassy-sponsored event announcement made a point of identifying the professional affiliations of the persons involved, mostly:

Charlie Bragale (news assignment manager), Claudia Uceda (anchor, Univision), Luis Urbina (NBC photo-journalist) and Brian Moore (NBC reporter), spent a week teaching 4th year students how to make an actual television news broadcast. Two classes produced two news programs. The stories within the program included reports on the Brazilian presidential elections, the Sao Paulo Bienal, and the upcoming opening of a Starbucks in Brazil.

(Google results for “claudia uceda +univision”: 3.

Which is rare for someone who is on television. The Web site that establishes her legend as a reporter for “Univision Channel 48” — dclatinotv.net, a URL where no server is currently to be found configured — is registered through an anonymous proxy by Godaddy.

The former Univision affiliate on Channel 48 — which now broadcasts Telefutura, I am reading, since 2006, while WFDC broadcasts Univision — in the D.C. area is actually in Silver Springs, Maryland.)

That last item — Starbucks on the Av. Paulista — being possibly the most underwhelming news story imaginable in a country where really good coffee is nearly as cheap as dirt. (Or human life.)

I say that as a coffee consumer in what are probably unhealthy mass quantities.

According to the Editora Abril’s main business title, Exame, the Seattle coffee shop chain has just opened its sixth store, on the Avenida Paulista. Exame has exclusive in-depth coverage, while the Folha publishes a brief note.

The chain’s director here was recently killed in a traffic accident on her way to Santos Dumont airport in Rio. (Condolences. Major metro traffic in Rio and Sampa is literally murder, I find.)

Maria Luísa era casada com o empresário americano Peter Rodenbeck, responsável por trazer ao Brasil a rede de fast-food americana McDonald’s e a Outback Steakhouse, com temática australiana. Eles não tinham filhos.

She was married to American businessman Peter Rodenbeck, responsible for bring McDonald’s and the Outback Steakhouse to Brazil.

Also a peculiarly hard sell in the land of the rodizio mineiro and the ubiquitous churrasqueria caseira. Which happens to lie just next door to Argentina, which rivals Kobe for the best bucking beef in the world.

Veja Rio magazine did a cover story on that epic arrival of the Aussies back in 2002.

In classic business autohagiography by proxy style, it opens dramatically, with the intrepid entrepreneur clawing his way up an Andean peak:

A temperatura chegava a 15 graus abaixo de zero. Protegido por roupa térmica e botas especiais, o americano Peter Rodenbeck, 62 anos, lutava contra frio e neve no Aconcágua. Pela segunda vez, tentava alcançar o cume da maior montanha das Américas, na Cordilheira dos Andes. Atingiu a marca de 6.000 metros de altitude. Parou, derrubado pelo cansaço e pelo ar rarefeito. Mais uma vez. Ficou a 900 metros de cumprir o objetivo. A derrota diante do Aconcágua ocorreu em janeiro de 2001. Mas Rodenbeck não desistiu. Não está acostumado a perder e já faz planos de voltar. Foi com a mesma determinação e disciplina que ele chegou ao topo no mundo dos negócios. Em 1979, trouxe o McDonald’s para o Brasil. Construiu sessenta lojas e viu a rede de lanchonetes virar referência no país antes de se afastar da empresa, em 1994. Reuniu dinheiro suficiente para curtir uma belíssima aposentadoria, mas preferiu encarar outro desafio. Há cinco anos, Rodenbeck inaugurou na Barra o primeiro restaurante Outback. No próximo dia 25 de junho deve abrir a oitava unidade da rede no Brasil – a terceira no Rio –, no lugar antes ocupado pelos cinemas do grupo Severiano Ribeiro no Shopping Rio Off Price, em Botafogo. É mais um capítulo da escalada de Rodenbeck.

The temperature reached 15 degrees below zero. Protected by thermal clothing and special boots, the American Peter Rodenbeck, 62, was fighting the cold and snow on Aconcágua. … [step by step, clawing his way up the mountain]. In 1979, he brought McDonald’s to Brazil. … Five years ago, Rodenback opened his first Outback Steakhouse in the Barra da Tijuca. Next June 25, [2002], it will open his eighth franchise in Brazil — the third in Rio — where the Severiano Ribeiro movie theatre used be in the Off Price Rio shopping mall in Botafogo. It is one more chapter in Rodenbeck’s ascent.

How much cornier can you possibly get?

The couple had no children.

All of which is of idle interest for future reference.

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