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40 years/40 newspapers

Written by  yvette vieira fts Bárbara Fernandes


The Museum of the press, in Câmara de Lobos, did a retrospective of newspapers on the madeiran autonomy. An exhibition that aims to mark the 40th anniversary of autonomy in Madeira appearing all the papers published from 1976 to the present date, as explained in its director Lourenço Freitas.

What are the peculiarities of the Madeiran press in the last 40 years?
Lourenço Freitas: It has interesting features. The first press newspaper in Madeira was called the "patriotra Madeirense" was in 1821 and was the first insular newspaper Portugal and outside the Portuguese mainland. The Azores only started to print newspapers ten years later, at a time when this island had 9 titles.

And already had underlying this idea of autonomy in the editorial line?
LF: Yes, already. We can say that the writing of the madeiran patriot, who was editor Nicholas Pita has an editorial that says this insular political consciousness, it is highlighted then. After that all the papers, not all in a linear fashion, "wearing" Tank autonomy throughout the nineteenth century until the early twentieth century, the journal of Madeira in 1923, promoted an investigation into the automia with several local personalities. This defense of an insular consciousness is promoted and built all this time.

Then we had a dictatorship where there was weeklies and newspapers with editorial lines fleeing censorship because of the distance.
LF: It will happen almost only with Comércio do Funchal

Why? What happens to the remaining publications?
LF: The other publications say that have adapted the circumstances of the time. The Commerce of Funchal will be streamlined from 1967 by a group of young people, headed by Vicente Jorge Silva and it's like a stone in the pond, it is an interventionist newspaper with this insular awareness and policy and then will grow and stops been a regional publication to have a national dimension, was the Madeiran newspaper highest projection in the press of Madeira. There is a stage in 1972, 1973 in the trade of Funchal was sold in eight comercials establishments on the island and only in Lisbon was 40 and then had the other cities from Coimbra, Porto and Guimarães and also in Portuguese host countries.

Then going back a little, do you think this need to read newspapers appears because of isolation due to be island?
LF: No, at this stage there is as a national enthusiasm by the press, by the publications. Even the French invasions Portugal not published many papers, when the Portuguese court goes to Brazil after there is a need to respond to the attacker and this urgency comes through the press. The Portuguese imprinted the periodicals abroad in emigration, particularly in England and the liberal ideas brought about by the French Revolution will also lead to this publication in newspapers. The Azores also accompany this wave, only that Madeira was fortunate to be early, but it also has to do with this necesssidade to "break" some insulation.

After 25th of April what the editorial lines of the newspapers? Because during this period anyone could start a newspaper.
LF: Until April 25th there was censorship and constraints in terms of the appearance of newspaper companies. With the revolution of the carnations appear new papers published from 1976 to the 80s, this is a very politicized time, not all, but some were much left some independence also arise newspaper from catholic movements, but at this stage are marked by much political intervention. Then from 80 there is a drift into an editorial line more general information, albeit with some nuances reaction policies to the regional government, which is the majority, appear even opposition newspapers to the government at the time. Only in the 90s have new dispassionate newspapers ideologies and political projects, I am remembering News of Madeira published in 1993, it was a general information newspaper completely plural and objective, after that there were many that information online without party markings.

We have to talk about the journey of a still outstanding newspapers regional reality that is the Daily News.
LF: Yes, the Daily News did not enter this display, because it is born newspapers with autonomy and DN passes through that and is present in this show because through this period, this year is its 140 years of existence and continues to be a plural reference newspaper and after 25th of April will become popular and active in its informative incisiveness and will be the most widely read in Madeira. According to studies the DN itself had a circulation 20,000 copies, but was read by 100,000 people.

After this retrospective of these 40 years, looking at the present time the press goes through a crisis caused largely by new technologies, notably the internet, but the new generations do not read print newspapers, will not seek information in the more traditional channels.
LF: That's true and it is a new issue, it is a context that must be taken into account by the remaining papers. If traditional publications want to survive will have to adapt to new times. They will have to be published online and to meet the tastes of new generations, newspapers will not cease to exist because not everyone has internet, studies published recently in Portugal point to the Internet penetration at about 66% there are 34% who do not have this technology even for these people will go out of the new media. Newspapers will have to adapt and meet new supporters and I believe in newspapers, because they are institutions that have made a journey in which readers believe these publications, to embark the online format readers go after the companies news has to do is to modernize and adapt to new ways of disseminating information.

From all this issues exposed what did you find most interesting in terms of editorial production
LF: That's an interesting question and I cannot answer with just a reference, because this exhibition consists of 40 newspapers and if you allow me I can name three, a funny newspaper is titled "semilha" is a humorous newspaper which only published a number, then we have the "nhau nhau" that is sarcastic and interventional it was a reprinted a newspaper that existed for decades it is reissued from 1996 to 1998. Of the general information newspapers would highlight the "News from Madeira" which launched a new product in madeiran media that made all other media modernized, was a newspaper that forced them to enter the color, forced newsrooms to modernize in computer terms and paid more reporters and photographers came mess with sector.

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