We are the champions! Yes we are!

Tokyo 2020 celebrates anti-pandemic journalism in the first person plural

It was late one night at the Barra Olympic Park, and journalists and photographers crowded the ring road leading to the exit gate. The journey continued on another bus to media villages and hotels. There was a voice coming from the backseat that sounded familiar. Next to a much smaller one, a large guy spoke with ease, reporting what appears to have been his workday full of interviews.

The big guy is that former swimmer turned commentator on Rio 2016. His loud voice clashed with the weary silence of the majority and the polite German dialogue of colleagues at a news agency. "Wow, amazing," said the smaller guy at one point, watching a video on his cell phone. "When he appeared in front of me I said: 'I'm going to make this one cry'. And the guy cried," explained the ex-swimmer about his vanity performance as a reporter.

I remembered this episode from five years ago on Friday morning (30). On TV, the SporTV reporter asked Tamires, from the soccer team, about the promise made to her son to bring home the medal that is no longer coming, as the team has just been eliminated. "He's proud of you," said the journalist, sort of justifying the question. Until then, serious and balanced, the football player did not hold back tears, and got straight to the point: "You like to make you cry, right?". And she amends the answer with a phrase of intimacy or irony, difficult to be precise: "Your daughter is also proud of you."

Tokyo 2020 is the Games of pandemic and nerves on edge. Difficult times bring those involved together, justifying condescension. In the stadium emptied by the plague, the applause for Rebeca Andrade came from journalists and delegations, the only audience present, reported Folha. In Tsurigasaki, the Globo reporter cries along with the first surfing champion, Italo Ferreira. The choked voice wins the approval of social media, our new moral compass, in good or bad sense.

Through television, we learned about competition between the stars of the street skateboarding, the newest of national sports; the discussion about Rebecca's weight, beach volleyball; the virtual bet between goalkeeper Barbara and a Paralympic athlete; the numerous resistance tests of the recyclable cardboard beds in the Vila Olímpica; from the test drive of an electronic toilet broadcast by the skate park girls on Tik Tok.
The gigantic event has 10,000 athletes and hundreds of entities producing their own content non-stop. Professional journalism, constrained by the bubble built to contain Covid-19 in Japan and by summarized teams, is more fleeting than ever.
Times are different. It is possible to give up the competition and be celebrated for the courage to take this attitude, as shown by Simone Biles; it is possible to celebrate not needing a leotard in gymnastics; it is possible to see Marta celebrating the goal with a message for her girlfriend. Tokyo is the Games of mental health, women, and diversity. From Jornal Nacional reporting medals with a soundtrack of suspense music and consecration. From reporters using the first person plural, let's get one more, come on, Team Brazil. One sweating, the other holding the microphone.

Nothing new, but with a pandemic, there is little heart.


English newspaper The Guardian made a series of editorial changes in 2019 related to climate coverage. The idea was to radically change the tone of the newspaper, to take the threat to the planet seriously. The mild "climate change", for example, was replaced by more serious terms such as "crisis" and "climate emergency.. Heat wave images in Europe? Forget the photo of the young girl refreshing herself at the fountain in Rome, prefer the forest fire record in Portugal. They seem like details, but that's where a change of culture lives.
The cold week that passed posed a similar challenge to Brazilian dailies. Snow in the South is always in the news, as is the concern for the homeless population in São Paulo. And there were even strong frosts in the South and Southeast.
Folha escaped from the party in the Rio Grande do Sul mountains on Thursday (29) with an image of vegetables being covered by tarp on a farm in Paraná on its Front Page. The damage is expected to affect supply and prices.
If choosing the photo was no problem, discussing the cold snap in light of the climate crisis was not a priority for almost anyone. One of the few to address the issue was the local branch of a foreign agency, BBC Brasil. The discussion is also modest in the water crisis, and little has been explored about the absurdity of the privatization of Eletrobras to foresee 8 GW of natural gas thermoelectric plants.
Of course, all this seems preciosity in the face of a burning Amazon and a delinquent environmental government. As the Guardian shows, however, changing route is not even giving up on the details.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon