Colombian and Brazilian print newspapers most popular on Twitter in Latin America

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  • January 22, 2018

By Ethan Elkins*

Digital and social media activity continues to increase throughout the world, and Latin America is no exception.

For several years, the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas has created an informal ranking of the print newspapers in the region with the highest number of followers on Twitter. While it’s difficult to consider every national and regional print publication in Latin America, we recently took another look at the largest print newspapers and found that Colombian and Brazilian dailies have the greatest number of followers.

Colombian newspaper El Tiempo has more Twitter followers than any other on our list, with 6.25 million followers.

Most Twitter accounts utilize tweets and retweets, but Twitter also has moments and lists features that allow for innovative forms of storytelling. El Tiempo uses these newer features far more than any of the other top five, with 174 moments and 72 lists. The publication also regularly hosts polls, which receive thousands of engagements.

Folha de S. Paulo of Brazil is just behind El Tiempo with 6.18 million followers.

“I believe the way for Folha to grow is to expand its digital subscriber base,” Ygor Salles, social media editor of Folha de S. Paulo, told the Knight Center. “For this, social networks collaborate in two ways. First, bring the reader into the site and perhaps retaining [them]. Second, reinforcing Folha's brand as a place where news is treated with seriousness, a kind of safe harbor amid the whirlwind of fake news.”

Behind El Tiempo and Folha de S. Paulo is Brazil’s O Estado de S. Paulo, or Estadão, a conservative newspaper also published in São Paulo, which has a following of 5.97 million.

We think social media is not about how big your fan base is,” Gabriel Pinheiro, digital strategist and editor of social networks for Estadão, told the Knight Center. “It’s how you can engage and work with the fanbase that you have.”

The only other newspaper on our list with more than 5 million followers is Jornal O Globo, also of Brazil, with 5.52 million. It also has the most media posts, with more than 154,000 photos and videos.

Of the top five on our list, Brazilian newspapers hold three spots with a total of 17.66 million followers.

Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina have the largest amount of internet users in Latin America. In 2016, eMarketer reported 75.6 million Latin Americans use Twitter, with a projection of 101.7 million users in 2020. Brazil is also the most populous nation in the region, followed by Mexico and Colombia.

Closing out the top five is El Universal of Venezuela, which has a following of 4.79 million. Of the top five, El Universal tweets far more often than the others with a total of 1.29 million tweets.

This year, the Knight Center’s ranking focused only on the number of Twitter followers for the region’s largest print newspapers. The fifteen most-followed publications are below:

  1. El Tiempo (@ELTIEMPO) - 6.25 million (Colombia)
  2. Folha de S. Paulo (@folha) - 6.18 million (Brazil)
  3. Estadão (@Estadao) - 5.97 million (Brazil)
  4. Jornal O Globo (@JornalOGlobo) - 5.51 million (Brazil)
  5. El Universal (@eluniversal) - 4.79 million (Venezuela)
  6. El Universal (@El_Universal_Mx) - 4.7 million (Mexico)
  7. El Nacional (@ElNacionalWeb) - 4.47 million (Venezuela)
  8. El Espectador (@elespectador) - 4.46 million (Colombia)
  9. El Milenio (@Milenio) - 4.04 million (Mexico)
  10. Últimas Noticias (@UNoticias) - 3.74 million (Venezuela)
  11. La Nación (@LANACION) - 3.04 million (Argentina)
  12. Meridiano (@MeridianoTV) - 2.91 million (Venezuela)
  13. Clarín (@clarincom) - 2.74 million (Argentina)
  14. Diario Olé (@DiarioOle) - 2.57 million (Argentina)
  15. Reforma (@Reforma) - 2.48 million (Mexico)

**Numbers as of 1/22/18

*Ethan Elkins is a journalism student at the Moody College of Communication School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. This story was produced as part of the class Reporting Latin America.

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.