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Holidays in Sambodia | TV Cultura on Tibetan Tourism

Today’s media watch and subtitling exercise exams TV Folha, the Folha de S. Paulo‘s half hour program on public broadcaster TV Cultura.

Critics say the program amounts to free advertising space for the newspaper.

This criticism tends to go hand in hand with protests over layoffs at a public broadcaster which has begun to rely on third-party, for-profit journalism such as TV Folha, as well as free content from think tanks — the same trend observable in public broadcasting at home in the last decade. On which see also

Personally, I think TV Folha spends far too much time on entertainment values — a jazzy soundtrack and slick, image-only montages with no narration. Infographics are flashed on the screen too rapidly to permit interpretation by the reader, and are not narrated.

The program is a bit like Doritos: jazzy packaging but the contents only fills the bag a quarter of the way up.

This tendency is mirrored in the steady growth of white space and advertising in relation to print content in the daily FSP. Often, though not always, infographics seem to have been deployed for the sake of infographics, at the expense of coherent narration.

Anyway, in the first block of this recent TV Folha edition, above:

  • The Folha’s proprietary ranking of Brazilian universities, which provoked four highly negative critiques from the Observatório da Imprensa and the  Folha‘s own ombudsman, by the way — see below
  • Humor columnist José “The Monkey” Simão on the tragicomic idiosyncracies of Brazil’s political advertising system — a perennial source of humor and an easy target for the «mundo bizarro» news category that every major news organization produces nowadays

The Monkey Man and Xico Sá are two of my favorite local columnists, I should say. Here, I have had to leave a wealth of excellent puns untranslated.

  • DNA Paulistano — first in a five-part series on the city’s five borough-equivalent zones, it appeals to a reader-viewer attuned to the city’s real estate market
  • Tourism in Tibet — featuring an oddly impassive and bureaucratic take on the human rights controversy, flashed on the screen right at the end
  • In the next segment: Senior daycare programs

I was astonished by following lede on the Tibet story, and I translate …

 Forget the images of silent monks and isolated monasteries. Tibet is increasingly a tourist destination!

The Folha invests far more airtime on the official position of the Chinese overlords than on the protest movement. It only not declines to interview members of the exile community: It appears to editorialize that we should simply forget about them.

Four different commentators bash the Folha’s universities ranking in the Observatório da Imprensa. Sylvia Debossan Moretzsohn writes, and I translate:

The special section published on Monday –September 9 — by the Folha de S.Paulo, billed as “the first ever ranking of Brazilian universities,” is a rare example of journalistic schizophrenia. Organized by the newspaper and researched for eight months, the study seeks to be “a systematic evaluation of Brazilian education.”

The study contains so many contradictions that it should not have been published at all. The inevitable result is that the newspapers’s “recipe for measuring school performance” runs alongside articles that acknowledge the tenuous nature of the numbers and the extreme simplifications they represent.

In her September 9 column, Folha ombudsman Suzana Singer writes: “The Folha‘s ranking suffers severe methodoligal problems, but at least it serves as a wake-up call to academia.”Why academia should need to respond to worthless numbers is one of those mysterious without a coherent answer, although the RUF study — “it sounds like a dog barking,” writes Singer –is said to have “created quite a stir”among the 300 readers who wrote to ombudsman about the study.

It should be remembered, however, that the Folha has often set out to “shake up academia.” One of the most famous examples was 24 years ago: The  “unproductive scholars of USP” list of 1988, which provoked trenchant responses from some of Brazil’s leading intellectuals.

At the time, the Folha merely republished a study produced by the USP rector. With this current study, the Folha fabricates its own numbers and falls into a fatal contradiction: If the study suffers methodological shortcomings, what credibility does this ranking have?|