Brazil’s Grupo Globo, one of the world’s largest media conglomerates, announced changes to the direction and operation of its two main print outlets, newspaper O Globo and weekly magazine Época on Oct. 23. The changes point to an attempt to renew the media organizations in the context of the newspaper’s digital expansion and the decreased print circulation of both publications.
O Globo is part of Infoglobo, the company that publishes the group’s newspapers, and Época is part of Editora Globo, which is responsible for the publication of magazines and books. Frederic Kachar, director general of both companies and Valor Econômico, announced via a memo sent to employees that Época’s newsroom, which has been located in São Paulo since its founding in 1998, will be moved to Rio de Janeiro. The magazine will operate in the same building as the newspapers O Globo, Extra and Expresso.
As part of the new structure, for the first time in the company’s history there will be an editorial director responsible for the four publications. Starting January 2018, the role will be held by journalist Ruth de Aquino, who is now a columnist for Época, where she previously served as chief editor and director of the Rio de Janeiro branch.
Kachar told the Knight Center that the changes “are part of a natural process of renewal and transformation of a media group that anticipates trends and seeks to match the expectations of its customers.”
“These changes will help us consolidate an integrated newsroom, strengthening the whole and, at the same time, maintaining and enhancing the personality and DNA of each branch,” he said.
Aquino also spoke to the Knight Center, enumerating some of her objectives for the new post. The journalist stressed that she intends to "encourage the team to develop multimedia talents without prejudice to the essence of good journalism: correct, accurate, relevant, exclusive, irresistible and attractive information, distributed in an agile way on all platforms."
The leaders of O Globo and Época are also changing: at the newspaper, newsroom director Ascânio Seleme, who has been at the paper for 27 years, will leave the position at the end of November, when he will become a columnist for O Globo. In December, Alan Gripp, current editor of integration, will take over the direction of the newsroom.
At Época, journalist Daniela Pinheiro will be the new newsroom director starting January 2018, replacing Diego Escosteguy, editor in chief of the magazine who held the position temporarily. Pinheiro has worked at Piauí magazine for the last ten years, where she currently serves as editor of the site and new projects.
According to data from Instituto Verificador de Circulação (IVC) reported by site Poder360, O Globo newspaper is first in terms of print circulation in Brazil, but has been losing subscribers and readers since 2015 and dropped by 5.4 percent between January and June of this year. After falling from 151,000 to 91,000 digital subscribers between the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017, the newspaper had an increase of 8.2 percent in this modality in the first half of the year. In June 2017, O Globo had 98,813 digital subscribers, ranking second behind Folha de S. Paulo, with 167,433, according to the IVC.
For Kachar, the downward trend in print "is not O Globo's privilege." "Let's just say this is a standard scenario today. Standard and obvious in view of the mobility of information and the habits of use of information consumers," he explained.
"We all know that increasing digital subscribers is a decisive factor in the survival of newspapers and magazines," Kachar said. "We intend to work, in all competencies and all sectors of the group, in the same way we recommend for our newsrooms: without compartmentalizing our minds and actions between print and digital."
Among its goals, Aquino also stated, is "to broaden the profile of users and to adapt production cycles to the new challenges of industry and technology" and "to ensure that editorial culture contributes to diluting the boundary between print and digital, which does not compete but complement each other in language, timing, depth and content."
Frederic Kachar denied the information that the print version of Época magazine will be closed in 2018, as some Brazilian media have reported. "There is no such decision. The information disclosed does not correspond to reality. This is a speculation and, of course, a topic up for debate in all the print media that prevail and in all countries of the world with an advanced digital culture, such as Brazil," he said.
Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.