Jornal do Brasil, one of Brazil’s best known publications, will discontinue its print edition and publish exclusively on the Internet starting September first, the owner of the 119-year-old newspaper informed Wednesday, July 14.
Based in Rio de Janeiro, the once-influential paper has lost thousands of subscribers in recent years amid turmoil in the editorial offices and serious financial woes.
Though it was founded by monarchists unhappy with Brazil’s transition from empire to republic, Jornal do Brasil became a champion of human rights during the country’s 1964-1985 military dictatorship.
During those years the column of political analyst Castelo Branco was a reference for Brazilian political opposition and even the military government.
The paper’s circulation declined from a peak of 150,000 copies per day to 21,000 currently. Owner Nelson Tanure announced the end of the print edition in a two-page notice in Wednesday’s paper.
“Consistent with its tradition of pioneering and modernity, the Jornal do Brasil is again ahead of its time and, from September 1, 2010, will become Brazil’s first 100 percent digital periodical,” the notice said.
Tanure said Jornal was the first Brazilian daily to launch a Web edition – in 1995 – and he made no mention of the paper’s financial problems.
The editors said current subscribers were consulted on the change and that they agreed to pay 9.90 reais (US$ 5.60) a month for access to the Web edition.
Other media outlets said Jornal do Brasil has debts totaling 800 million reais (US$ 455 million) and suggested the aim of eliminating the print edition is to slash payroll, already down from 240 to 180 over the past decade.
Jornal was acquired by Tanure’s CBM media conglomerate in 2001. One of the conglomerate’s other holdings, business daily Gazeta Mercantil, went under in 2009.
“We regret the passing of the Jornal do Brasil as a standard in Brazilian journalism and a great school for journalists, but that happened due to business mistakes,” the director of the Brazilian Periodicals Association, or ANJ, said.
“Newspaper circulation in Brazil has been growing, with the exception of last year due to the recession, but it’s rising again in 2010,” Ricardo Pedreira said. “In Brazil there is a lot of room for growth in newspaper reading.”
The ANJ says newspaper circulation in Latin America’s biggest economy increased 31% in the 2004-2008 period before declining 3.46% last year.
Founded in 1891 by journalist Rodolfo Dantas and other monarchists Jornal do Brasil was bought in 1918 by the Count Ernesto Pereira Carneiro.
Following the death of Carneiro in 1954, the newspaper was managed by his son in law, Manoel Francisco do Nascimento Brito who modernized the company and its printing facilities. The Nascimento Brito family was in control of the newspaper until the logo was rented to Tanure, who finally purchased the whole package.