The São Paulo metropolitan area is made of São Paulo’s 96 districts and 39 surrounding cities. Almost 21 million people live, work, eat, have fun and commute everyday in this large urban area.
In the last decade, the news flow of the large cities have been focusing largely on the “easy, fast and simplest” stories –not by a lack of interest of the professionals, but a conjunction of factors. The shortage of resources in the journalism industry, the publishing speed need that was pushed by the tech revolution, the the never ending growth of complexity of context in large urban areas have reduced the news flow to the known-places. In unequal and sprawling cities like São Paulo, that meant that the information was produced and consumed by the economic and political center of the city.
The underprivileged outskirts have been out of the target audience when we have been talking about good quality journalism. They have been portrayed only in “easy-to-grasp” situations, such as stories of violence, when new poverty data is released or some exoctic or very popular cultural event takes place. When we talk about the São Paulo mainstream news flow, that happened not only to the less-developed districts, but also to the cities that make up the metropolitan region. Only a disaster or a huge strike put them back into the news and to the audience’s eyes.
On November 24, 2010, we lauched Blog Mural, the first news blog that aimed to cover all non-central districts and cities of this large metropolitan area. We were around 20 journalists, worried about this gap of information and we wanted to do something about it. We partnered with Folha newspaper, the largest in Brazil: in exchange of our exclusive content, we would get mainstream audience, as we would be hosted among their blogs’ list.
We have been publishing a story a day for the last 6 years, and we surpassed 1,000 stories. More than one hundred local correspondents have worked for the blog, and the “muralistas”, as they are known, are experts on the regions they cover. Our stories are stories nobody is telling.
Now, we have the pleasure to introduce to you Agência Mural, a news organization that is the result of this history. We are an organization that will produce not only journalism, but also collect data, work with strategy on the information gathering and rely on our relationship with our audience to become the real experts on those before-invisible realities. We are taking journalism back to the ground to explore this enormous, complex and unequal urban area.
We have already been working as an organization, since 2014. We organize live events (Expo Mural), seminar for high school students in public schools (Mural nas escolas) and we organize photo contexts (Meu Mural), for example –all projects have as a basic objective to expand and deepen our relationship with our audiences. Now everything is on this websitel.
And we want to continue growing. Our first mission is to bring the 21 million people that share the same urban area to share the same information about it, the same “vision”, to relate again to the news flow, to feel empowered by information, to re-engage as citizens.
The next move is to replicate it, possibly with partnerships, to other cities in Brazil, in Latin America, why not the world. Do you want to join us?