CNN Brasil to debut in November; Luciana Barreto is network’s first black journalist – cable giant also contracts former anchor fired for racist comment
So it’s official. CNN is opening a branch in Brazil. The popular cable news channel will be headed up by Douglas Tavolaro, the former director of journalism of RecordTV and also by Rubens Menin, owner of MRV Engenharia. The network’s headquarters be located in São Paulo, as one would expect, while it will also have branches in Rio de Janeiro and Brasília, as well as international branches that will count on a crew of about 400 journalists. This isn’t first time CNN has attempted to break ground in Brazil. In 2017, the channel established a partnership with Simba Content, pay television programming company equally owned by the SBT, Record and RedeTV networks. The deal with Simba didn’t pan out.
With CNN Brasil news debuting in November, it will move into a direct a competition with Rede Globo TV’s cable news channel, GloboNews. It may be cause for Globo watch its back in the cable news market. The new CNN Brasil journalism channel, expected to open in November this year, should be included in the core package of the major pay-TV operators. This will compete equally with GloboNews, which is also available to subscribers for the basic package.
Negotiations are still ongoing. According to market sources, Brazilians will need to pay “extra” to have the channel included. The broadcaster is still in the hiring process. According to some sources, some of the content will come from CNNs around the world, but the idea is to expand into local production over time. The broadcaster is already building a network of teams and employees in all states and major metropolitan regions.
Former Globo network journalist William Waack’s hiring by CNN Brasil causes controversy
In June, CNN Brasil announced its first hired anchors: Evaristo Costa and William Waack. While the announcement that Evaristo will be back on the screens made many people happy, hiring William Waack had the opposite effect.
Many web users disliked that CNN Brasil hired the journalist, who was fired from TV Globo in 2017 after a video leaked of him making racist comments. Actor Rafael Zulu talked about the hiring Waack on Instagram Stories.
“I just had a ‘pleasant’ surprise, actually a very bad surprise. I just learned that William Waack is the new hiree at CNN Brasil… I will refresh your memory. William Waack is that racist citizen, it is very clear that he is racist, he is a guy who doesn’t like pessoas de pele preta (black skinned people). He acted racist, obviously on the TV in which he works, actually worked and was dismissed, because today, really, it’s really like that. He fucked up, we’re here, we know what’s up,” he said.
On Twitter, some people were also against the hiring of the journalist. “In Brazil, the crime of racism pays off. William Waack left TV Globo after the racist episode of the “coisa de preto” (black thing) surfaced. As an award, he became anchor of CNN Brasil prime time. Congratulations to those involved. Shame on you @CNN,” one person said.
A few of the reactions to Waack’s hiring at CNN Brasil went as follows…
“In Brazil, the crime of racism pays off. William Waack left TV Globo after the racist episode of the “coisa de preto” surfaced. As an award, he became anchor of CNN Brasil prime time. Congratulations to those involved. Shame on you, @CNN.” – Isabela Reis (@bela_reis) June 4th, 2019
”CNN hired William Waack for anchor. Now we know which journal not to watch, right?” — Haddad Debochado (@HaddadDebocking) June 4, 2019
”@CNNBrasil announced William Waack as its first hired anchor. Yes, the one who was cut off from Globo after being caught saying ‘It’s black, it’s a black thing’ when he heard a loud horn. It’s good that we already know what the channel profile will be and we can avoid it.” – Pablo Villaça (@pablovillaca) June 4, 2019
”A reminder about William Waack: Racism is a crime, CNN Brasil.” – PSOL 50 (@psol50) June 4, 2019
”CNN Brasil has started off wrong by hiring racist William Waack” – Ｖｉｎｉｉ(@viniceraa_) June 4, 2019
”At no time did William Waack have had his career shaken up because of the denunciation of racism. After he was fired from Globo, he was hired by Estadão and now he goes to CNN Brasil. Let’s not be sorry to denounce racism, it’s the crime that pays off the most around here.” – Henrique Oliveira (@henrisilvaolive) June 5, 2019
First black host
CNN Brasil seems to be aiming at Globo TV for cable news supremacy in more ways than one. Besides hiring former Globo journalist Waack, the news giant has also contracted Globo journalists Monalisa Perroni, Mari Palma and Phelipe Siani. According to some sources, another Globo journalist, César Tralli, is also thisclose to signing up with CNN Brasil. While we’ll have to wait for confirmation on this, in contrast to news about Waack’s hiring, CNN’s Brasil branch continued its challenge to Globo with the announcement of the hiring of journalist Luciana Barreto for its team. She is the first black host of the confirmed casting.
“A feeling of gratitude has come over me. It’s a big challenge to get to the biggest broadcaster in the world. I look back and see that we have gone far and still have a lot to grow together. I say we went because I always have this feeling of collectivity. I have the desire to add a lot with a more attentive look at social agendas, always within a journalism that respects the diversity of Brazilians”, said the journalist in a statement sent to the press.
Barreto worked as a reporter for Canal Futura, which belongs to Grupo Globo, but accumulated experience in other major broadcasters, such as Band, BandNews, GNT, TV Brasil and TVE of Rio de Janeiro.
In 2012, she won the Abdias Nascimento National Journalism Award for the Caminhos da Reportagem – Blacks in Brazil: Brilliance and Invisibility program. In 2018, she won in the Em Pauta category of the ‘Yes to Racial Equality Award’ for her work in the press for the fight against racism.
“For some time, we have been following closely the work developed by journalist Luciana Barreto, which caught our attention. She is part of the new generation of journalism talents and certainly, with her knowledge, will help strengthen our project,” said Douglas Tavolaro, CEO and founder of CNN Brasil.
”One more host joins our team! She is Luciana Barreto, an award-winning journalist with experience at Globo, Bandeirantes and TV Brasil. Coming from a new generation of Brazilian journalism, the anchor stands out for her resourcefulness in live coverage. 🎥 At CNN Brasil, Luciana will lead a daily program and will also work in digital media. With her competence and talent, the host is another bid on young and credible journalism. Welcome! In the second photo, the host with our CEO and founder, Douglas Tavolaro (standing), and Vice Presidents of Content, Américo Martins (left), and of Journalism, Leandro Cipoloni. #CNNBrasil”
It’s intriguing at the very least to see Barreto and Waack ending up at the same network. In her work for TV Brasil, Barreto’s focus and work on the situation of black Brazilians was a welcome contribution to bringing some visibility to this parcel of the population that is often treated as if it doesn’t exist. Some of the topics covered in Barreto’s work included reports and documentaries on slavery, the representation of blacks on television, as well as a feature on the movement known as “Black Money”. In preparation for the network’s coming debut, they surely must have already met. Given the controversy surrounding Waack’s racist comment and Barreto’s work exposing the plight of black Brazilians, I wonder what their first encounter was like.
IN conclusion the arrival of CNN to Brazil is most definitely news worthy and will surely shake up a cable news market where, in addition to Globo’s GloboNews, there are also BandNews of the Band network and Record TV’s Record News. Even so, CNN’s arrival to the Brazilian market isn’t not something I would say I’m celebrating. Having watched the network for a number of years, I know that like any other major news network, besides reporting the facts, it is also a huge propaganda and agenda agent in which one must always be on guard in watching presentations in order to separate the news from the goal of pushing opinions in way direction or another. In this case, I have no other intention here than simply sharing the facts. Period.