This Friday (19), Folha completes 100 years of existence. On Saturday 20, I will be 49 years old. Of these, 28 of them went on to work as a journalist for Folha. Unlike many colleagues, who came and went from different editorial offices, I was always the same, even though I had different functions and held positions abroad. I have spent more of my life in Folha than outside.
And that’s one of those ironies of life. Because when I was in college studying history and journalism, I came into fourth grade with the confidence that I would be a historian forever.
When I walked up and down the ramps of the magnificent building of USP’s Department of History and Geography, I thought I would, in addition to getting my degree, post-doctorate, and write books and essays on my favorite subject, Latin America. .
But luck changed everything. I arrived at the journalism college one day and some colleagues convinced me to go in a group to take the internship exam at Folha. It was 1993. None of them passed the test, but I did. So I thought I was going to learn some things in this course and later I could make other choices.
It was not so. I walked into the newsroom and fell in love with her immediately. At that time, everything was quite different. There was no internet, the computers were large and dome shaped. Some old reporters in the house still refused to embrace computers and kept tables with drawers attached to typewriters.
As Ilustrada’s editor, in charge of typing, one by one, the names of the films that premiered at the cinema, with the respective times of each session, I almost went crazy, but I learned how to editor was working on which I would spend much of my time in the newspaper.
These were the post-campaign era of Diretas-Já and the initial post-implementation of Project Folha. Therefore, new challenges persist today. Among them, maintain the current project and continue to innovate. Even amid the economic crises, the newspaper industry and, now, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s time to keep dribbling through the hardships and believing in the relevance and importance of doing professional journalism from now on.
I owe the newspaper the opportunity to interview artists I admire. Going to speak to historian Eric Hobsbawm (1917-2012) at his home in London, having traveled to Mexico to interview Rod Stewart with his LP under his arm. After having breakfast with Michael Stipe, from REM, also in England. For sealing a friendship with writer Ian McEwan, which later became a mutual exchange of visits. Don DeLillo received me in his office in Manhattan, I spoke with Bono at the BBC headquarters in London and with García Márquez in Cartagena.
Interview with the author of “The Tale of the Maid”, Margaret Atwood, in Cartagena (Photo Sylvia Colombo)
Without Folha, I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy unforgettable international coverage either. From the war in Kosovo to the protests in Venezuela. From the flight aboard Evo Morales’ jet to interview him in Bolivia to the visit of the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) camp in the midst of peace negotiations. He would not have known the pain of the parents of murdered students in Ayotzinapa, Mexico, nor the wounds left by the Falklands war on the islands themselves.
Interview with the chavist leader Jorge Rodríguez, in Caracas (Photo Maria Carolina Ocque)
If my dedication to the newspaper prevented me from realizing my dream of becoming an academic, it also opened up the possibility for me to attend a different university, that of the real world, and to live it with an incredible intensity.
My life in Folha has been an enjoyable learning experience – obviously with a few exceptions, like enduring many hours of boring meetings or the wear and tear of many flawed closures.
None of this would have been possible if I hadn’t also met some amazing people inside. There I made some of my dearest friends, colleagues who taught me a lot, with whom I laughed and with whom I chatted, as well as someone who brightened my days and who sorely missed by the newspaper and its friends.
I certainly won’t be for 200 years. But from my first assignment as an intern, to accompany a colleague Moraes Eggers to cover a Palmeiras training session (I’m from Corinthians), with my first gray block in hand, until the day I finish writing this text , I feel that every minute was worth it and the work remains enjoyable.
Too bad that two former readers of Folha are no longer there for these birthdays. My grandfather João, who leafed through the newspaper while taking his glass of whiskey and asking: “where is your article?” and my grandmother Josefina, who kept clippings of my texts for later commenting with me.
The yellowed photo of my intern class, in 1993, under the command of Sandra Muraki (Photo archive)