My Sao Paulo write up
Below is the copy of my observations from Sao Paulo:
São Paulo is unlike any city in the United States. While places like New York or Chicago carry significant business interests for the domestic markets, São Paulo’s clout when it comes to Brazil’s economy is unprecedented for most countries around the world. Not only does it carry international headquarters for companies like Boeing, but it also is home to most of the national and international media. While Brasilia may remain the country’s legislative capital, there is no question in my mind that São Paulo remains one of Brazil’s most important assets.
The first thing I noticed about São Paulo is its sheer size. I knew that it was big but I didn’t even come close to comprehending what “big” meant in São Paulo terms, when you look at the city, skyscrapers extend in every direction as far as you can see, and the amount of people is unprecedented for me. I’ve been to Chicago, where there is no shortage of people walking the streets but São Paulo trumps it easily. On the subway system the sheer number of people amazed, and intimidated me. That being said, I think this city is grossly overpopulated. Cities in the United States have traffic yes, but from the moment you pull onto the streets your stuck in log jam, and the public transportation system is overcrowded to the point where we stood at a standstill on the platform waiting for more trains to arrive. But, as I’ve come to realize, once a city of this size reaches its capacity, its nearly impossible to build out the infrastructure at the pace of the city’s growth. So, as São Paulo continues to grow, so will its problem with crowded subways and city streets, until like Mexico City it is nearly impossible to efficiently get in the city.
There were also a couple other things that struck me as odd in regards to the city, especially the amount of people that understood and could speak English. Unlike Rio de Janeiro, which is largely considered an international tourist spot already, São Paulo, which offers little tourism appeal, carries a significantly higher amount of people who spoke English. This may be due to the fact that a number of the businesses here also carry business outside the country, or the number of international companies located in São Paulo, but it definitely has a greater international presence compared to Rio de Janeiro.
Bloomberg’s Brazil presence shows the significance of the growing economy in Brazil. Despite the continent size country’s slowing GDP, the financial and business world realizes that the future of the global economy will have Brazil in it. At Bloomberg, I think the class came to the realization of the true might of Brazil’s economy, discussing multi-billionaires and the 40 reporters that Bloomberg has specifically dedicated to coverage of Brazilian finance and business. While the Wall Street Journal is taking a different approach, and not hiring more reporters for its Brazil bureau, John Lyons noted that this is also because local journalism is improving, as well as free lancers, making the job easier for foreign media outlets because they are able to outsource more of their work. However, all three outlets, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal, and Reuters noted that they are all willing to at least consider, on some level, hiring English speaking and writing journalists who speak and understand Portuguese. The need to cover Brazilian business, from an American viewpoint is expanding greatly, and as the oil industry continues to grow, as does the tourism industry, so will the number of American reporters in Brazil.
By far my favorite moment in Brazil thus far was the interactions we had with the Brazilian students working at the newspaper, Estado de São Paulo. While it may not directly relate to Brazilian economics or journalism directly, it was the most rewarding experience by far because it gave me the opportunity to hear the viewpoints of Brazilians my age, who are going to be writing the stories and facing the issues of the growing economy. When visiting a country like Brazil, which is largely off the radar of American students, sometimes stereotypes, generalizations and theories arise that are not always accurate, and by meeting with the students, it quelled a lot of the false claims I previously had with Brazil. I realized that while the American journalism industry is facing its problems, so is Brazil’s. The entire journalism industry, worldwide, is trying to figure out how to deal with shrinking markets and growing sources of information and trying to make sure we’re still getting paid in the process.
Overall, São Paulo has been the most rewarding destination on this trip. While Rio de Janeiro was spectacular in its sightseeing and business visits, and Angra dos Reis’ beauty, it was São Paulo that offered, to me, the best picture of international and business journalism, as well as the future of the growing country.