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Ombudsman Leaves The Folha de S. Paulo

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“Exit polls give victory to Chávez in referendum”: The
Folha de S. Paulo front page on the day after. Not as bad as Miriam Leitão of O Globo writing “Chávez Won the Referendum Because He Manipulated the System!” Chávez lost the referendum.

Miriam Abreu notes, on the Web log of Luis Nassif, the departure of Mario Magalhães as ombudsman of the Folha de S. Paulo daily.

Magalhães was invited to remain so long as he no longer publicly critiqued the paper on a daily basis. A sample of his work, in hasty translation:

O mandato de Mário Magalhães como ombudsman da Folha de S. Paulo se encerrou na sexta-feira (04/04) e o próprio optou por não renová-lo. Motivo: o convite para continuar no cargo estava condicionado a sua aceitação para deixar de escrever a crítica diária na internet. Magalhães não concordou e volta a ser repórter especial na sucursal Rio.

[His term of office] ended Friday and he opted not to renew it. Reason: The invitation to continue in the post was made conditional on no longer writing the daily critique published on the Internet. Magalhães did not agree and will return to working as a special correspondent in Rio.

“Considero isso (acabar com a crítica diária na web) um retrocesso na transparência do jornal e do trabalho do ombudsman. Não concordei com a condição, houve um impasse, então deixei o cargo”, contou ele neste sábado (05/04) ao Comunique-se.

“I consider (doing away with the daily critique of the newspaper on the Web) a step backwards in the transparency of the newspaper and the role of the ombudsman. I did not agree to the condition, there was an impasse, so I left the post,” he told Comunique-se on Saturday.

Até sexta-feira (11/04), Magalhães continua atendendo os leitores. E neste domingo (06/04), ele se despede dos leitores na coluna publicada no impresso.

Magalhães will continue responding to readers until April 11. This Sunday (April 6), he will say goodbye to readers in a column published in the print edition.

Mário Magalhães deu início ao trabalho como ombudsman no dia 05/04/07. Ele substituiu Marcelo Beraba, que desempenhou a função por três mandatos.

MM began working as ombudsman on April 5, 2007, replacing Marcelo Beraba, who served three terms in the post.

I have great admiration for Beraba, who was a more senior editorial manager than Magalhães — a prominent bureau chief and political editor — before taking the post, I think.

Na Folha desde 1991, Magalhães atuava como repórter especial do jornal, mas já foi repórter e editor-assistente de Esportes e editor-assistente do “Folha Teen” . Foi o segundo ombudsman da Folha de S. Paulo baseado no Rio de Janeiro.

At the paper since 1991, Magalhães worked as a special correspondent, having previously served as assistant editor of Sports and assistant editor of Folha Teen. He was the second Folha ombudsman to work based in Rio de Janeiro.

Não há informações sobre quem será o próximo ombudsman do diário.

There is no information on who will be the Folha’s next ombudsman.

What does it matter? They are effectively eliminating the position.

Nassif comments:

A Folha perde, o ombudsman ganha. Mário Magalhães conseguiu um feito notável: substituir à altura o Marcelo Beraba, com o mesmo conhecimento sobre as entranhas das reportagens e a mesma coragem de colocar o jornalismo acima das conveniências profissionais. Grande jornalista!

The Folha’s loss, the ombudsman’s gain. Magalhães pulled off a noteworthy feat: replacing the likes of Beraba, with the same knowledge of the inner workings of stories and the same courage in putting journalism above career considerations. A great journalist!

A very capable and sensible journalist who now has no forum to do his capable and sensible journalism in. Folha readers are the losers here.

A sample from a recent daily critique:

Ética: o inferno são os outros

Ethics: Hell is other people

Capa de Cotidiano no sábado: “Carro de secretário invade corredor de ônibus”.

From the cover of the [“daily life”] supplement on Saturday: “City department head’s car invades dedicated bus lane.”

A Folha acompanhou por cinco minutos veículo oficial do secretário municipal Ricardo Montoro –o secretário não estava no carro. Pelo ângulo das fotografias, o automóvel da Folha também trafegou no corredor de uso restrito.

The Folha followed the official car of city department chief Ricardo Montero — who was not in the car at the time. Judging from the angle from which the photos were taken, the Folha‘s car was also driving in the restricted lane.

Comentário de um leitor: “Para reportar uma infração, a Folha não pode cometê-la”.

A reader comments: “In order to report on an infraction, the Folha cannot commit the same infraction.”

De outro: “É ético cometer um desrespeito à lei para denunciar outro desrespeito?”.

Another: “Is it ethical to commit an illegal act in order to denounce another?”

Título de uma terceira mensagem: “Faça o que eu digo…”.

Title of a third message: “Do as I say …”

Personally, I do not buy the Folha de S. Paulo, although I do peek at it using my wife’s account with UOL once in a while.

The FSP costs R$2.50. The New York Post costs US$0.25.

Why pay broadsheet prices for tabloid journalism — or better, some weird and inconstant hybrid of tabloid and “quality”?

See also “A Dossier and Many Doubts” (March 31, 2008; my hasty translation in progress), Magalhães’ assessment of the Folha‘s reporting on what the Sousaphone tends to refer to as

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