On the evening of Wednesday, January 27, when Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was already being rushed to a hospital in Recife, the online editions of the major newspapers in the Southeast region were still running statements he had made during a dinner with the governor of Pernambuco and other politicians.
The first information about the indisposition suffered by the president, about 9 pm on Wednesday, was reported only after 2 am Thursday, first on O Estado de S. Paulo’s online portal and later on Globo Online. The reader of the digital edition of the Folha de S. Paulo had access to the news only an hour later, when they reprinted what had being published in the Globo group’s G1 website.
All leads us to think that when they saw the presidential entourage boarding the plane, reporters called it a day. But the plane did not take off and few minutes after 9 pm the president was taken to a hospital in Recife.
At that time, the newsrooms were busy preparing the material on the president’s trip to Davos, Switzerland, where he should be awarded the Global Statesman prize, created to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the World Economic Forum.
The episode is one more indication that’s not enough to develop technologies so that the journalism can fulfill its promise of information “in real time.” If the crisis of hypertension suffered by the president were something more severe Brazil would wake up completely uninformed.
Thursday morning, the major newspapers’ hard copies didn’t have a word on the episode despite all the trappings of journalists who usually follow the president in his trips.
Apparently, the first version of the crisis suffered by the president was published by the blog of journalist Jamildo Melo, from Recife’s Jornal do Commercio, shortly after midnight. Forty minutes later, the twitterer fabriciovas, from Argentina, echoed the information.
It seems that the so-called mainstream media was unceremoniously scooped out.
Luciano Martins Costa is the host of Observatório da Imprensa no Rádio, a radio broadcast that analyses the media.