Advertisement

Environmental Journalism in Brazil: History, Characteristics, and Framing of Disasters

  • Rachel R. MourãoEmail author
  • Heloisa Aruth Sturm
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Media and Environmental Communication book series (PSMEC)

Abstract

This chapter describes the characteristics of environmental reporting in Brazil through a historical overview and an analysis of news coverage of the worst environmental tragedy in the country’s history: the 2015 Mariana dam collapse, which resulted in the death of 19 people and destroyed over five square miles of vegetation and wildlife along the Rio Doce estuary. The key characteristics of environmental coverage in the country are outlined: a focus on disasters, episodic coverage, reliance on official sources, and an emphasis on nature as an instrument for human ends. We found that episodic coverage was predominant and stories emphasized the human side of the tragedy, with very few articles even mentioning environmental concerns. These stories were not put in the context of bigger issues related to the mining industry or long-term environmental or societal impacts. Recommendations for the improvement of environmental journalism in the country are offered.

References

  1. Aguiar, M. C., & Cruz, P. F. (2016). Mensuração do dano em APP dos rios Gualaxo do Norte, Carmo e seus afluentes. Nota Tecnica 02001.000606/2016-36. Ministerio do Meio Ambiente.Google Scholar
  2. Albuquerque, A. (2012). On models and margins: Comparative media models viewed from a Brazilian perspective. In D. C. Hallin & P. Mancini (Eds.), Comparing media systems beyond the western world (pp. 72–95). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Albuquerque, A., & Roxo da Silva, M. (2009). Skilled, loyal and disciplined: The communist journalists and the adaptation of the American independent journalism model in Brazil. The International Journal of Press/Politics, 14(3), 376–395.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Amaral, M. F. (2011). O Enquadramento nas Castástrofes: da Interpelação da Experiência ao Relato da Emoção. Revista Contracampo, 22, 65–82.Google Scholar
  5. Ângelo, F. F. (2010). Breve histórico da divulgação científica e da comunicação ambiental. In V. S. D. Berna (Ed.), Comunicação Ambiental – Reflexões e Práticas em Educação e Comunicação Ambiental. São Paulo: Paulus Editora.Google Scholar
  6. Aquino, Y. (2015, November 23). Lama de barragem chega ao mar no Espírito Santo e prefeitura interdita praias. News website Agencia Brasil. http://agenciabrasil.ebc.com.br/geral/noticia/2015-11/lama-de-barragem-chega-ao-mar-no-espirito-santo-e-prefeitura-interdita-praias
  7. Ayer, F. (2015, November 13). Lucro de um mês da Samarco paga multa milionária por tragédia. newspaper O Estado de Minas.Google Scholar
  8. Azevedo, F. A. (2006). Mídia e democracia no Brasil: relações entre o sistema de mídia e o sistema político. Opinião Pública, 12(1), 88–113.  https://doi.org/10.1590/S0104-62762006000100004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Barbara, V. (2016). Brazil’s Olympic catastrophe: Can Rio pull off the games with only weeks to go? Newspaper The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/03/opinion/sunday/brazils-olympic-catastrophe.html
  10. Barros, A. T., & Lima, M. É. O. (2012). A eficácia do jornalismo ambiental: dinâmicas e possibilidades. X Encontro Nacional de Pesquisadores em Jornalismo.Google Scholar
  11. Belmonte, R. V. (2015). História do jornalismo ambiental Brasileiro. X Encontro Nacional de História da Mídia, Porto Alegre/RS, Brasil.Google Scholar
  12. Bertoni, E., Coissi, J., & Marques, J. (2015, November 21). Plano de emergência de mineradora Samarco ignora alerta a moradores. Newspaper Folha de S. Paulo.Google Scholar
  13. Brossard, D., Shanahan, J., & McComas, K. (2004). Are issue-cycles culturally constructed? A comparison of French and American coverage of global climate change. Mass Communication & Society, 7(3), 359–377.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Bueno, W. (2007). Comunicação, jornalismo e meio ambiente: teoria e pesquisa. São Paulo: Mojoara Editorial.Google Scholar
  15. Cherem, C. E. (2015, May 4). Seis meses apos acidente em MG, Samarco reluta em pagar multas ambientias. News website Uol Noticias. http://noticias.uol.com.br/cotidiano/ultimas-noticias/2016/05/04/seis-meses-apos-acidente-em-mg-samarco-reluta-em-pagar-multas-ambientais.htm
  16. Cipriani, J., & Carolina, P. (2015). Barra Longa, cidade vizinha a Mariana, foi tomada pela lama. News website O Estado de Minas. http://www.em.com.br/app/noticia/gerais/2015/11/06/interna_gerais,705337/barra-longa-cidade-vizinha-a-mariana-foi-tomada-pela-lama.shtml
  17. Colombo, M. (2010). Jornalismo ambiental: a sua história e conceito no contexto social. XXXIII Congresso Brasileiro de Ciências da Comunicação, Caxias do Sul/RS, Brasil.Google Scholar
  18. Cowie, S. (2016, January 27). Clearer picture emerging over Brazil’s mining disaster. Deutsche Welle. http://www.dw.com/en/clearer-picture-emerging-over-brazils-mining-disaster/a-19006554
  19. da Costa Bueno, W. (2007). Jornalismo Ambiental: explorando além do conceito Environmental Journalism: Besides the concept.Google Scholar
  20. de Lima, V. A. (2006). Mídia: crise política e poder no Brasil (Vol. 1a). São Paulo: Editora Fundação Perseu Abramo.Google Scholar
  21. Diniz, M. (2016, August 18). Justiça suspende licenças ambientais do Complexo Germano da Samarco. Agencia Brasil. http://agenciabrasil.ebc.com.br/geral/noticia/2016-08/justica-suspende-licencas-ambientais-do-complexo-germano-da-samarco
  22. Dornelles, B. (2008). The end of objectivity and neutrality in civic and environmental journalism. Brazilian Journalism Research, 4(2), 108–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Fabio, A. C. (2016, August 31). Como estão as ações e investigações contra a Samarco. https://www.nexojornal.com.br/expresso/2016/08/31/Como-estão-as-ações-e-investigações-contra-a-Samarco
  24. Ferreira, B. (2015, December 2). Minas Gerais vira ‘refém’ da mineração em relação perigosa. Newspaper O Tempo.Google Scholar
  25. Ferreira, J., Aragão, L. E. O. C., Barlow, J., Barreto, P., Berenguer, E., Bustamante, M., Gardner, T. A., Lees, A. C., Lima, A., Louzada, J., & Pardini, R. (2014). Brazil’s environmental leadership at risk. Science, 346(6210), 706–707.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Freedom House. (2015). Freedom of the press. https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-press/freedom-press-2015
  27. G1 Jornal Nacional. (2016, February 19). MPF pede informações à Samarco sobre valores gastos em publicidade. News website G1 Jornal Nacional. http://g1.globo.com/jornal-nacional/noticia/2016/02/mpf-pede-informacoes-samarco-sobre-valores-gastos-em-publicidade.html
  28. G1 MG. (2016, June 15). Veja lista de mortos e desaparecidos no rompimento de barragem em MG. News website G1 Minas. http://g1.globo.com/minas-gerais/noticia/2015/11/veja-lista-de-desaparecidos-no-rompimento-de-barragens.html
  29. Garner, A. C., & Huff, W. A. (1997). The wreck of Amtrak’s Sunset Limited: News coverage of a mass transport disaster. Disasters, 21(1), 4–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Geraque, E., Martins, F., Campoi, F., Pliger, M. Kanno, M., Alencar, R., & Izumino, B. (2015, November 22). Rastro de Lama. news website Folha de S. Paulo. http://arte.folha.uol.com.br/cotidiano/2015/11/22/rastro-lama2/
  31. Griffin, R. J., & Dunwoody, S. (1995). Impacts of information subsidies and community structure on local press coverage of environmental contamination. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 72(2), 271–284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Guedes, O. (2000). Environmental issues in the Brazilian press. International Communication Gazette, 62(6), 537–554.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hester, J., & Gibson, R. (2016). The economy and second-level agenda setting: A time-series analysis of economic news and public opinion about the economy. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 80(1), 73–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Houston, J. B., Pfefferbaum, B., & Rosenholtz, C. E. (2012). Disaster news framing and frame changing in coverage of major US natural disasters, 2000–2010. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 89(4), 606–623.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Ibama. (2015, December 2). Onda de rejeitos da Samarco atingiu 663 km de rios e devastou 1.469 hectares de terras. Ministerio do Meio Ambiente. http://www.ibama.gov.br/publicadas/onda-de-rejeitos-da-samarco-atingiu-663-km-de-rios-e-devastou-1469-hectares-de-terras
  36. Ibama. (2016). Documentos do Ibama sobre o desastre da Samarco no Rio Doce. Ministerio do Meio Ambiente. http://www.ibama.gov.br/publicadas/documentos-do-ibama-sobre-o-desastre-da-samarco-no-rio-doce
  37. Ibram. (2015). Relatorio Anual Ibram. Brazilian Mining Association. http://ibram.org.br/sites/1300/1382/00005733.pdf
  38. Iyengar, S. (1994). Is anyone responsible? How television frames political issues. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  39. Kucinski, B. (1998). A síndrome da antena parabólica: ética no jornalismo brasileiro (Vol. 1a). São Paulo: Editora Fundação Perseu Abramo.Google Scholar
  40. Laboissiere, M. (2015, November 17). Ministério Público vê ameaça em Paracatu após tragédia em Mariana. Estado de Minas.Google Scholar
  41. Lawrence, R. G. (2001). Defining events: Problem definition in the media arena. In R. Hart & B. Sparrow (Eds.), Politics, discourse, and American society: New agendas (pp. 91–110). Lanham: Roman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
  42. Leitch, A. M., & Bohensky, E. L. (2014). Return to ‘a new normal’: Discourses of resilience to natural disasters in Australian newspapers 2006–2010. Global Environmental Change, 26, 14–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Lopes, V. (2016, August 30). Samarco admite falha na barragem que causou tragédia em Mariana. Newspaper O Estado de Minas.Google Scholar
  44. Magro, M. (2010, June 4). Environmental reporters in Latin America face threats and censorship. Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas. Retrieved from: https://knightcenter.utexas.edu/blog/environmental-reporters-latin-america-face-threats-and-censorship
  45. Massumi, B. (2011, April 15). The half-life of disaster. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/apr/15/half-life-of-disaster
  46. Mattos, S. (2002). História da televisão brasileira: uma visão econômica, social e política. Petropolis: Editora Vozes.Google Scholar
  47. McCosker, A. (2013). De-framing disaster: Affective encounters with raw and autonomous media. Continuum, 27(3), 382–396.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. McFarlane, A. C., & Norris, F. (2006). Definitions and concepts in disaster research. In F. H. Norris, S. Galea, M. J. Friedman, & P. J. Watson (Eds.), Methods for disaster mental health research (pp. 3–19). New York: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  49. Miles, B., & Morse, S. (2007). The role of news media in natural disaster risk and recovery. Ecological Economics, 63(2), 365–373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Miller, A., & Goidel, R. (2009). News organizations and information gathering during a natural disaster: Lessons from Hurricane Katrina. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, 17(4), 266–273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Motter, S. B. (2012). A cobertura de um desastre ambiental: construção da informação no Jornal Zero Hora sobre os deslizamentos de terra da serra carioca em janeiro de 2011. Trabalho de conclusão de curso: Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul.Google Scholar
  52. Mourão, R. R. (2016). From mass to elite protests: How journalists covered the 2013 and 2015 demonstrations in Brazil. Doctoral dissertation. Retrieved from Texas ScholarWorks.Google Scholar
  53. Nissani, M. (1999). Media coverage of the greenhouse effect. Population and Environment, 21(1), 27–43.Google Scholar
  54. Orgeret, K. S., & D’Essen, C. (2012). From COP15 to COP17: Popular versus quality newspapers comparing Brazil and South Africa. A question of social responsibility? In E. Eide & R. Kunelius (Eds.), Media meets climate: The global challenge for journalism. Göteborg: Nordicom.Google Scholar
  55. Oswald, V. (2015, December 1). Dilma cita acidente em MG como o ‘maior desastre ambiental’ do Brasil. O Globo.Google Scholar
  56. Ploughman, P. (1995). The American print news media ‘construction’ of five natural disasters. Disasters, 19(4), 308–326.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Portal EBC. (2015, November 29). Relembre os principais desastres ambientais ocorridos no Brasil. http://www.ebc.com.br/noticias/meio-ambiente/2015/11/conheca-os-principais-desastres-ambientais-ocorridos-no-brasil
  58. Reis, R. (1999). Environmental news coverage of the earth summit by Brazilian newspapers. Science Communication, 21(2), 137–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Rosa, M. A. (2005). Jornalismo em defesa do verde. Jornalismo em Acao, Universidade Metodista de Sao Paulo.Google Scholar
  60. Saldana, M., & Mourão, R. R. (2018). Reporting in Latin America: Issues and Perspectives on Investigative Journalism in the Region. The International Journal of Press/Politics. Ahead of print. DOI: 10.1177/1940161218782397Google Scholar
  61. Sodré, M. (1988). A comunicação do grotesco: um ensaio sobre a cultura de massa no Brasil. Petrópolis: Editora Vozes.Google Scholar
  62. Straubhaar, J. (1989). Television and video in the transition from military to civilian rule in Brazil. Latin American Research Review, 24(1), 140–154. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/2503285
  63. Trigueiro, A. (2005). Mundo sustentável: abrindo espaço na mídia para um planeta em transformação. Rio de Janeiro: Globo Livros.Google Scholar
  64. Trumbo, C. W., & Shanahan, J. (2000). Social research on climate change: Where we have been, where we are, and where we might go. Public Understanding of Science, 9(3), 199–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Vale, J. H., & Werneck, G. (2016, Feburary 4). Tragédia de Mariana causou prejuizo de R$ 1,2 bilhão a municípios mineiros. O Estado de Minas. http://www.em.com.br/app/noticia/gerais/2016/02/04/interna_gerais,731564/tragedia-de-mariana-causou-prejuizo-de-r-1-2-bilhao-a-municipios-m.shtml
  66. Veja. (2015, November 5). Samarco e a decima maior exportadora do pais. http://veja.abril.com.br/economia/samarco-e-a-decima-maior-exportadora-do-pais/
  67. Villar, R. (2008). Jornalismo ambiental- evolução e perspectivas. Agir Azul. http://www.agirazul.com.br/artigos/jorental.htm
  68. Waisbord, S. R. (2000). Watchdog journalism in South America: News, accountability, and democracy. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  69. Waisbord, S., & Peruzzotti, E. (2009). The environmental story that wasn’t: Advocacy, journalism and the asambleismo movement in Argentina. Media, Culture & Society, 31(5), 691–709.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Watson, B. R. (2012). Ideologies drive journalists’ attitudes toward oil industry. Newspaper Research Journal, 33(2), 6–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Watson, B. R. (2014). When critical voices should speak up: Patterns in news coverage of unofficial sources during the BP oil spill. Journalism Practice, 8(6), 842–854.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Watson, B. R. (2016). Is Twitter an alternative medium? Comparing Gulf Coast Twitter and newspaper coverage of the 2010 BP oil spill. Communication Research, 43(5), 647–671.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Worcman, N. B. (1990). Brazil’s thriving environmental movement. Technology Review, 93(7), 42–47.Google Scholar
  74. Zamith, R., Pinto, J., & Villar, M. E. (2013). Constructing climate change in the Americas: An analysis of news coverage in US and South American newspapers. Science Communication, 35(3), 334–357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Michigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  2. 2.University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

Personalised recommendations