Editorial, by Stone Korshak
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Starting today there are some big changes at The Rio Times, we are pausing our monthly print edition to focus on the online publishing, and doing away with the idea of weekly online editions in favor of rolling daily news. We hope the Print edition will return in December for the high season, but in the short-term we are looking into strategic partnerships to improve digital content.
These are mainly operational changes for us internally, and for our online readers and advertisers, it may not be noticeable except as an improvement. Our hope in this time of change is to streamline even more to build on the strengths of our business, and remain the leading source for local English language news in Rio de Janeiro and Brazil.
When we started in March 2009, we were setting ourselves up to be a weekly community newspaper, developing a news operation around Wednesday editions. At the time the newspaper industry was already devastated by the media cannibalism of Online and cable news networks, but the one model that still recorded profits was the weekly community publishers.
That suited us, as the original concept of The Rio Times was to be the hub of local information and interaction for the community of English speakers in Rio. It’s not that that didn’t exist with some of the societies and clubs here, but we wanted to create something even more accessible to all those new and long-term visitors in Brazil, focused around current events.
There was no lack of material, just as we started the Police Pacification Unit (UPP) program started to gain momentum, then the 2016 Olympics were awarded in October 2009, then the World Cup in South Africa, then the 2010 presidential elections, then the battle for Complexo do Alemão started in November 2010, and then the invasion of Rocinha, the real estate market surge, the Chevron oil leak, the massive protests during the Confederations Cup and finally the 2014 World Cup – not to mention the annual Ano Novo and Carnival events!
Yes – plenty of news to report, and we’ve knocked out 289 weekly editions without fail thanks to almost a hundred reporters over the years. Unfortunately in that same period the cost of living and doing business has literally almost doubled. In 2009 you could rent a one-bedroom temporary (furnished) apartment in Ipanema for R$1,900 per month and by a Bohemia long-neck bottle of beer for R$5. Now that same apartment is trying to rent for R$3,500 and the same beer is R$9…, but that’s another story.
The demand for local English-language news in Rio and Brazil remains and will go through another major spike for the 2016 Olympics. The economy will go through ups-and-downs, and advertiser and sponsor support will ebb and flow, but with partners like the The British School, BridgeBrazil language school, Rio International School, and the Lapa Irish Pub/Mab’s, Multi Oral dentistry and others, The Rio Times continues to have exciting opportunities.