Brazilian television reporters protest the award of the Esso Prize to newspaper Folha de São Paulo

A group of reporters from the television network Record sent a letter to the organizers of the Esso Journalism Prize, the highest journalism prize in Brazil, questioning the newspaper Folha de São Paulo's qualification as a finalist. The reporters allege that the articles submitted by the newspaper were the product of their investigation into the shady dealings of ex-Brazilian Soccer Club president Ricardo Teixeira, not the newspaper's own.

The series from Folha de São Paulo titled "The shady game and the fall of Ricardo Teixeira" won the 2012 Esso Journalism Grand Prize and the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas posted an interview with the winning journalists about their reporting.

Record reporters sent an email to the Knight Center in reaction to the post to state for the record that they had protested the newspaper's placement in a letter sent to the Esso Prize on Oct. 17, signed by reporters Luiz Carlos Azenha, Amaury Ribeiro Jr, Antonio Chastinet and Leandro Cipoloni.

The five Record reporters said they were furious with the "fact that the organization [Esso] had ignored the origin of the material, the hard investigative work of the reporter from TV Record." The letter goes on to allege that "after the broadcast of our reports, we handed over documents obtained through our investigation to our colleagues at 'Folha' and other outlets."

Record's reports about the accusations against Teixeira competed in the category of television journalism, different than the one Folha won, but they did not make it into the finals. According to Esso's rules, the submissions are presented to the judges in two steps: one to select finalists and another for winners.

Ruy Portilho of Portal dos Jornalistas, the organizer of the Esso Prize, said that "'The remains of Ricardo Teixeira' had every opportunity to be considered by the television journalism committee and did not merit entrance into the finals. Confronted with the reporters' protest, the judges maintained their decision. The attempt to discredit the work of their colleagues at Folha de São Paulo was not welcomed by those in charge of judging the print media finalists."

When contacted, the winning team at Folha de São Paulo declined to comment.

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.


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