Brazilian newspapers continue to cut staff, despite strong circulations

The increase in newspaper circulation in Brazil, noted by the Circulation Verification Institute in July, wasn't enough to stop the tide of job losses in newsrooms in the South American country. Despite strong financial showing, in contrast with North American and European markets, traditional media in Brazil have been cutting jobs in anticipation of a coming crisis.

On Nov. 1, the newspaper O Estado do São Paulo fired 20 employees in a "first wave" of dismissals, according to the website Imprensa. Journalists working in "Section 2," television, the "Agriculture Supplement," and the women's section were some of the areas cut.

Editora Globo, publisher of the magazine Época and others, announced 44 layoffs in December, amounting to a 2.5% reduction in the group's staff, reported the website Meio e Mensagem. Fred Kachar, CEO of the company, said the move was part of a "normal" restructuring "for any industry" facing disappointing returns.

Along with the previous companies, another of the "majors" is also facing staff reductions. The newspaper Folha de São Paulo fired 40 journalists--nearly 10 percent of the newsroom--on Nov. 10. The act led Portal R7 to suggest the newspaper was in crisis; the National Federation of Journalists protested the layoffs.

As newsrooms continue to "clean house," the layoffs add up. In the first half of 2011, there were over 200 dismissals in São Paulo alone, feeding debate over the future of the industry. In the opinion of Folha de São Paulo's communications director Marcelo Benez, "the newspaper industry is not in crisis, it's an industry in transition," reported Piauí Hoje.

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