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Revolutionary Brazilian newspaper Jornal da Tarde prints its last edition

Cover of the last edition of Jornal da Tarde

One of the most respected media outlets in São Paulo, Brazil, the newspaper Jornal da Tarde (JT in Portugese) released its final edition on Wednesday, Oct. 31, after 46 years. The newspaper decorated its farewell cover with a photo taken from the Itália building, a postcard picture of the city, and the line, "Obrigado, São Paulo" (Thank you, São Paulo).

In an editorial titled "JT leaves the scene," the newspaper reflected on its role in the renewal of Brazilian communications. "Designed to hit newsstands at the beginning of the afternoon, JT could, for the first half of its life, grant itself the luxury of running at the speed of ideas and dedicate itself to wander through the treatment of facts, the evaluation of its significance and in its presentation in images and words as never before so carefully and completely worked in the history of the Brazilian press," the publication remembered.

According to an official statement released earlier this week, Grupo Estado, owner of the newspaper, decided to suspend operations at Jornal da Tarde for strategic reasons, concentrating its efforts on the newspaper O Estado de São Paulo. President and director of the company, Francisco Mesquita Neto, said, "after almost five decades, 'JT' was the center of innovation and creativity [...] with its award-winning journalism and graphic design, it influenced generations of readers and media professionals with a grand contribution to Brazilian journalism. Mission accomplished."

According to the Circulation Verification Institute, Jornal da Tarde had an average daily circulation of 37,000 in August and had been facing falling numbers. The leader of the segment, "Agora São Paulo" (São Paulo Now), from Grupo Folha, reported an average daily circulation of 106,200 in the same month. Considering its dropping profits, around R$ 800,000 a year, Grupo Estado determined the investment was no longer justifiable, explained columnist Jorge Féliz from the website iG.

According to a statement, the newspaper "O Estado de São Paulo will transition to an integrated multi-platform publication, including print, digital, audio, visual and mobile, to increase the volume of content to readers without the barriers of distance and distribution costs." Jornal do Carro, JT's most successful supplement, will also be incorporated into O Estado de São Paulo as a notebook, with editions on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. The statement did not mention what would become of the newspaper's employees.

Despite the fact that Oct. 31 will be the last day for JT's newsroom, Grupo Estado has an agreement with the Union of Professional Journalists of São Paulo guaranteeing there will be no lay offs for a month, until the end of November, while negotiations take place between parties, explained the union.

Jornal da Tarde's end follows the extinction of print versions of other publications in Brazil, like the Jornal do Brasil, Tribuna da Imprensa and Jornal dos Sports. Privileging a digital strategy and ending print runs are ever more common options in the United States, where print circulation numbers continues to fall.

The end of Jornal da Tarde, however, contrasts with the overall trend of rising print newspaper circulation in Brazil, spurred by a growing middle class and increasing sales of popular dailies created during the last few years. According to the Circulation Verification Institute, which audits newspapers and magazines in Brazil, print newspaper circulation rose 2.3 percent during the first semester of 2012.

Journalists mourn the end of Jornal da Tarde

In online comments sections, bloggers and journalists expressed their disappointment at the end of Jornal da Tarde. Mino Carta, Jornal da Tarde's founder and current director of the magazine Carta Capital, lamented the news in an interview with the website Uol. "The death of a newspaper always makes me sad but, in this case specifically, I should say it saddened me twice, my three times, maybe because it was a publication born out of a team's work that I led."

"We revolutionized the pagination as much as the text. We believed that journalism was a form of literature, something that has been lost in Brazilian journalism. We thought that the investigation was fundamental, that well-reported and deep stories were essential for the success of the newspaper," he added.

Ex-director of the Estado Agency, Dirceu Martins Pio, stressed in an article published in Observatório da Imprensa that the path to "avoid the closure of Jornal da Tarde would be to transform it into a good metropolitan newspaper, with good content directed at the families of Greater São Paulo--women, men, young people. Said this way, it seems stupid --all newspapers are targeted at families--but it's not so," Pio questioned the argument that competition with digital media was to blame for the closure. "Only in the United States did the web steal 39 percent of print readers. It's not the case that the competition was so cruel with a Newsweek, which until now, had a benevolent relationship with its principle rival, Time."

For journalist Mauro Cezar Pereira, the end of Jornal da Tarde is a sign that the role of newspapers is out of tune with the new times. "I don't know if the web is going to 'kill' print journalism. I know that print news needs to be shown in a different format, the focus can't continue to be cold, bureaucratic. This is urgent. Today, for example, Folha and Estadão headlined that Haddad is the new mayor of São Paulo. It's what we call old news," he said.


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