An Alternative Press? New Forms of News Reporting in Brazil

Sarmento, C. 2019. An Alternative Press? New Forms of News Reporting in Brazil. PhD thesis University of Westminster

TitleAn Alternative Press? New Forms of News Reporting in Brazil
TypePhD thesis
AuthorsSarmento, C.

This study examines the emergence of alternative forms of news production in Brazil within the context of an increasingly unstable democracy. It focuses on different genres of not-for-profit journalism to understand the roles of alternative news producers, their relationships with traditional journalistic practices, such as the norm of objectivity, and their approach to financial sustainability. Drawing on alternative media studies, this thesis combines semi-structured interviews with independent news producers and qualitative content analysis. Interviewees include both citizen journalists and professional journalists with experience in legacy newsrooms who are now engaged with small-scale alternative news outlets. Content analysis examines the production of four cases: an independent investigative outlet that covers human rights violations; a journalism agency covering the Amazon region; a community media collective from one of Rio de Janeiro’s largest favelas; and a feminist outlet from São Paulo focused on women from peripheral areas.
n exploring what kinds of stories they convey, how they are organised, and to what extent their production enables a better understanding of the issues afflicting a country in crisis, this study sheds light on the relevance of alternative journalism and reflects on changing journalistic boundaries. Although their practices are very heterogeneous, the research demonstrates that alternative journalists are challenging the agenda-setting process of commercial media by tackling misrepresentation, stereotypes and discrimination against particular communities with a nuanced adaptation of fundamental journalistic norms. Alternative news sites also reject the traditional business model of mainstream media and seek diversification of revenue-generating activities. This research highlights the emergence of new players in the Brazilian news media ecosystem and points to their significance in the diversification of the news agenda in a country where a few private groups own mass media corporations. Their attempts to be more than a temporary presence in the media landscape create counter-hegemonic spaces to enhance debates on issues such as racism, state repression and social and gender inequality in Brazil.

Publication dates
PublishedOct 2019

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