By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – After ten years, nearly 14,000 news articles, and working with over one hundred freelance reporters and writers, The Rio Times, Brazil’s leading local English-language news publisher, will shut down on Sunday, March 31st.
“We’re closing because I am living back in the U.S. now, and although it is a profitable business, and we’ve got some of the best reporters we’ve ever had, it’s not enough to keep me in Rio and I can’t dedicate enough time to it anymore,” expressed Stone Korshak, The Rio Times Editor and Publisher.
“It has been a very difficult decision because [The Rio Times] has been my life for the last ten years, and I’ve loved doing it,” he said. “Without a doubt it has been the most satisfying work I’ve ever done.”
Korshak launched The Rio Times in 2009 shortly after arriving in Rio because of what he explains as “a gap that I felt myself, which was trying to find information about living in Rio, without speaking and reading Portuguese well.”
From the beginning, the news company provided the expatriate community in Brazil and Rio de Janeiro a much-needed source of local news in English. At the time, Rio had not had a locally published English language newspaper in over twenty years – the last one being The Latin America Daily Post which closed in 1986.
However, soon after opening, The Rio Times, “evolved into something much more,” Korshak related. “It became (what I hoped) was a hub for expat life in Rio and Brazil. We wanted to connect foreigners together, for life, work and fun.”
He adds, “We were always proud to help support foreigners doing business in Rio, which is an extremely difficult environment in the best of times. Not to mention promoting those expats doing art and music, as well as non-profit NGO programs.”
Julia Michaels, an American expatriate, author and journalist behind the Rio Real Blog, exclaimed, “The Rio Times was a vibrant institution that helped to define and inform our expat community in all its diversity.”
Unfortunately, according to Michaels, the newspaper was not immune to “Rio´s downturn, which has spurred a tragic exodus of both expats and Cariocas.” She laments, “I will miss The Rio Times.”
Throughout the years, The Rio Times also served as an outlet for many expat freelance writers and journalists living in Brazil – giving them a chance to report on local happenings and national stories, as well as providing an opportunity to voice their affection and, oftentimes, frustration with the country that, at least for a time, they called home.
The diverse group of reporters who have passed through The Rio Times newsroom included veteran journalists, lawyers, small business owners, and graduate students – some of whom had already lived in Brazil for decades before the newspaper launched and others who had just arrived.
“Getting to write on a daily basis one and even two stories when you are a freelancer in Brazil has been challenging and gratifying,” explained The Rio Times’ senior reporter Lise Alves, who began writing for the newspaper in 2014.
“It has been a pleasure to work at The Rio Times and to bring our readers stories which carry a bit more of the local color of the wonderful places here in Brazil.”
As the publication enters the final weeks of a successful ten-year run, Korshak concluded, “I’ll always be proud of The Rio Times and thankful to the readers and advertisers who supported us, as well as all the great reporters that poured their hearts into it – for very little money.”
“For me,” he shared, “I’ll take all the experience from the last decade and put it towards launching a new publication in Miami Beach, which will be announced soon.”
The Rio Times will publish its last article on Sunday, March 31st. The website will remain up for six months after the paper closes during which time all the articles will be accessible.