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By Doug Gray, Contributing Reporter

The new name will come into effect in the next few weeks, with the old web address forwarding to the new www.riotimesonline.com.
The new name will come into effect in the next few weeks, with the old web address forwarding to the new www.riotimesonline.com.

RIO DE JANEIRO – The Gringo Times will have a new name, but it is not a change that was taken lightly. Following last week’s story about the meaning of the word “Gringo”, and the survey participation of over 100 of readers, the polls are in, and Rio’s only English language local news source has a new name – The Rio Times.

Whether pejorative or not, the word Gringo has sensitive connotations for some foreign nationals living in the city. Brazil may be one of the few countries where its use is largely light-hearted and affectionate, but for some, it’s a word that will always be uncomfortable.

The focus for the news company has always been the English speaking foreign community in Rio, and to cause offense to or alienate anyone in that core readership base does not pay-off. As one survey respondent commented; “The Gringo Times (to use its current name) is a credible, reliable and entertaining news source and while I know the ´gringo´ tag is not (always) derogatory, in terms of tone and the initial impression upon hearing the name Gringo Times, it doesn’t do justice to the quality of your output”.

Only slightly more votes cast for a new name in the survey conducted over the last week.
At the time of publishing, only slightly more votes cast for a new name in the survey conducted over the last week.

Another survey respondent provided a different perspective; “You’re a gringo. Don’t be afraid of the word. Of course it’s slightly pejorative in the mouths of ill-natured people, but if you use it on yourself, it becomes less so. It’s now a known brand and very distinctive.”

Not surprisingly, the great proportion of those in favor of retaining the name The Gringo Times were indeed Brazilians, many of whom enjoyed the self-deprecating and self-aware approach to reporting news in a foreign country.

This also reasserted the fact that there is generally no malice associated with the word in the eyes of most Brazilians, and as such it was a close run issue as publisher Stone Korshak is well aware; “I’m not surprised that the results are so close – from the beginning people really loved the name The Gringo Times, so these results validate us starting with it. I do think, though, that there are enough people out there uncomfortable with it, especially advertisers, so it is clear that the answer is to go forward with the Rio Times.”

Over half of the survey respondents are foreign nationals living in Rio, while over 25 percent of the respondents were Brazilian.
At the time of publishing, over half of the survey respondents are foreign nationals living in Brazil, while over 25 percent of the respondents were Brazilian.

Ultimately The Rio Times is a serious news outlet for the comings and goings of Rio de Janeiro, always with a slight slant towards foreigners living here, and as such the flippant associations with the old name made for a somewhat incongruous match up which Stone realized needed addressing; “Although the word Gringo resonates with a lot of people, ultimately it is not doing our brand justice, as it takes away from how serious a news publisher we are. We didn’t want anybody to hear the name Gringo Times and misunderstand what we are doing.”

The name change will happen in the next few weeks, with a new logo and web address; www.riotimesonline.com. The old URL will redirect to the new one to ensure everyone can find the site, and the change will happen at a time to minimize any disruption to readers. All the past stories will still be available, so the news company will continue to build an archive of record for the Marvelous City.

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10 COMMENTS

  1. That’s good you did change the name. It did sound degradeing and not professional as far as doing business in the real world. When I tell people about your site, I feel like I am saying “stupid American’s” even though I keep telling people in America “gringo” is not ment in a “bad” way in Brasil. I still get a un-sure look on peoples faces, like sure what ever! So very good move and I will feel better to tell people the name of the website with a more acceptable response. Than “GRINGO”! (sounds like a mexican discribing a stupid American) To my Brasilian friends and family, ask someone outside of Brasil what “Gringo” means to them. You will see why Americans “HATE” that word.
    Thanks!
    J. Tong

  2. Big mistake.
    ‘The Rio Times’ smacks of delusions of grandeur and a fun and catchy name that basically hits the spot has been sacrifised pointlessly.
    I hope I’m wrong but I can see this site achieving less hits with this new title.

  3. This is terrific news! Parabens. Given Latin American history and the predominately negative association of the word “gringo” “The Gringo Times” carried needless historical baggage and weighed down a great new venture. Best of luck and may The Rio Times continue to thrive.

  4. Oh, come ON… Really? Are you serious??? “The gringo times” is a genious name, I love it!

    To be honest this was exactly what caught my attention to the site, at first place! I thought “cool, news made specially for foreigners!” and I opened the link straight away. I felt like I knew exactly what it was all about, and I was not deceived. I have a couple of friends that sometimes post articles here, so I was expecting it to be reliable from the start. But just with the name, really, it already made me interested.

    “The Gringo Times” sounds FUN. It sounds interesting, it is catchy, and it has exactly this… CARIOCA way, if you know what I mean. This is SO RIO DE JANEIRO! It has the carioca spirit, it carries the carioca soul in it. I couldnt think of a better name. But, again, maybe it takes BEING A CARIOCA YOURSELF to be able to feel it this way.

    We (brazilians, most specially CARIOCAS!) tend to see things with a preety open mind, quite relaxed, and as I guess you guys know already, the word GRINGO, for us, means FOREIGNER, solely. PERIOD. Of course I can understand that some ppl (mostly the gringos, themselves, as it shows on the coments here! ¬¬) take it wrong, since this CAN be pejorative in some places or cultures, or whatever – but we normally use it in a sweet, kind way. I always call my foreign friends “gringos”, and I love and respect them. And since I live abroad, I of course call MYSELF GRINGA, TOO, when I am away from Brazil. Which is most of the time.

    Anyways. “The Rio Times” isn’t bad at all, I just liked the former name better for the feeling it has, as I explained before. It’s so…laid-back, just like RIO ITSELF! My opinion, of course, but you shouldnt think that by being called “gringo”, it brings any harm to you, not at all. I never thought it wasnt serious, I never felt I shouldnt trust the site, and more: I ALWAYS read it and send it over to my ‘gringo’ friends who have been to, or are going to Rio, everytime I see something that can be of their interest.

    Oh well. I can only wish you the best of luck and all the success in the world – you deserve it! Great website! :)

  5. as you can tell by my nickname I don’t have a problem with the word gringo at all, but it’s true, when I mentioned the website to others their first reaction would be a frown and a smile.. you didn’t expect a serious website.
    but the name The Rio Times to me lacks creativity..

  6. I was born and raised in Brasil and prefer to use words that best describe people.

    I prefer to call people who are not from brasil “foreigners”, “tourists”, “visitors”, or “guests”..i just think it show more respect for people.

    I know in brasil the word “gringo” may not be offensive in brasil, but in other countries it can be….

    just my opinion..

    ~Zezinho

  7. I always hated to be called ‘Gringa’ in Brazil. It was because it was usually said in a perjorative manner..ie.Gringa safada volte para seu pais…’

    It also conjurs up images of the American toursit in flowered shirts and a camera around their neck. It also hints at sentiments leftover from the 60’s when South America was in the throws of military dictatorships that were ‘encouraged’ by the Americans(ie. Chile and Henry Kissingers involvement)

    Good idea to change the name

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