By Jack Arnhold, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The announcement on Thursday, March 21st, that The Rio Times would close down has prompted Swiss businessman Matthias Camenzind to make an offer to take over the paper, which has now been accepted by current owner Stone Korshak.
Camenzind is also setting out a new vision for the paper that includes an expanded geographical area, more content, and a re-hauled new look.
“What I want our readers to know is that I’m willing to invest in the paper, I’m willing to improve the paper, and I’m willing to expand the paper.” says Matthias Camenzind, Swiss businessman and new owner of The Rio Times.
“I’m looking to improve in terms of the quality of the journalism, the quantity of the journalism, but also in the paper’s geographical reach.” He continues.
Camenzind envisions a paper that not only covers Rio de Janeiro and some news in São Paulo, but a platform with a truly national reach plus an in-depth understanding of all the main cities in Brazil.
“I want a wider coverage of what’s happening in Brazil. So one of the first things that will be addressed is that São Paulo will immediately become as important as Rio de Janeiro. And also places like Florianópolis, which has a very exciting and growing expatriate community, will start to get more coverage.” He says.
Camenzind wants to make it clear that he is investing in the long-term future of the paper, as he plans to spend a lot more time in Brazil. “The three things I am willing to put into this paper are money, time and passion.” He adds.
“I will be in Brazil for the next couple of years, if not longer. And within the next few months I will be moving to Rio de Janeiro.” Camenzind says.
The news that The Rio Times was planning to cease operations on March 31st came as a shock to many readers and fans of the publication, Camenzind included.
He adds, “When I arrived in Brazil, the first thing I did was subscribe to The Rio Times. It gave me a lot of information about the country, the city, and I felt connected to it. I think it was well done, and it helped me a lot.”
Camenzind continues, “So when I learned they were closing down, within five minutes I was saying to Stone, ‘sell it to me!’ Because I feel there is still such a big and important community that needs this service, and that is what we are going to continue to supply.”
For Stone Korshak, founder and current owner of The Rio Times, the news that the paper will continue is a great relief, “It was amazing to read all the messages of appreciation and support, and how people would miss The Rio Times.”
He adds, “We received around five or six offers to buy it. After some back-and-forth, Matthias was clearly the most serious, passionate and qualified, and after hearing his vision for the publication’s future – it felt like a great fit. I can’t wait to see what happens next for The Rio Times!”
Current readers and subscribers can expect to see some quick changes and also a more gradual move towards Camenzind’s vision of an expanded news platform. “People will notice that the look and feel of the website will change. There will be many more articles per day and on the weekend. The paper will be open and active twenty-four-seven, with the amount of articles doubled or even tripled.” Camenzind comments.
He adds, “However, we’re hoping that the reporters will stay the same, that readers will keep reading the same names. And the focus on Rio will also remain.”
Readers can also expect to get a lot more original content and investigative reports, plus more in-depth ‘background’ reports on particular topics of interest.
Camenzind concludes, “We want to write our own stories, so that even Brazilians will start to read us once they realize that The Rio Times has stories that the other Brazilian papers don’t have. We must create our own content, otherwise we are not credible.”