The end of the year is approaching, it is time to take stock and reflect on our work.

For those who have been writing in this Balaio for 13 years, every day, it is not always simple to choose the subject to be discussed here _ not because of a lack, but because of an excess of news popping up at every moment.

In the beginning, and for a long time, I selected themes randomly and chose those that I thought were the favorites of internet users/readers, without knowing what their tastes or preferences were.

It dealt with everything: from politics to soccer, from economy to culture, from everyday facts to international conflicts, from tragedies to commemorations, from travels and discoveries. He did reports, interviews, chronicles and, from time to time, he even gave “scoops”, with articles that ended up in the headlines. Kotscho’s Balaio was really a kitten’s basket.

Over time, the physical limitations caused by health at an old age and, in the midst of the endless crises we’ve been experiencing in recent years, these themes have tapered off, turning the blog into practically a political column, as it is today.

Always dealing with the same subjects in a monothematic column ends up tiring, both those who write and those who read, as they often become repetitive and boring, which can also be seen in the comments area. Many only read the title and the author’s name, and they start shooting, whatever the subject is.

When reading the column of my friend Washington Olivetto the other day, who now has a column in the newspaper O Globo, I decided to borrow an idea he had: ask readers to help him, suggesting topics on which he could write.

“I didn’t comment on what kind of topic I would choose, I was just sincerely curious about the readers’ reaction. I received hundreds of suggestions, but mostly I received comments and insinuations from people questioning “how a successful São Paulo native like me could like Rio de Janeiro so much” and “what kind of interest is there behind my passion for Rio?”.

For many readers, it seems that there is always “an interest behind” what we write.

As far as I’m concerned, the only interest I’ve had in these 57 years on the road in journalism has always been to be faithful to the facts, to be honest with readers, to say what I think and, above all, to be understood, which is not so simple. in conflicted and polarized times.

If I wanted to say one thing and the readers understood another, it was certainly my mistake. Every journalistic text must be clear, objective, with no ulterior motives, except to tell what is happening and contextualize the facts with the before and the possible after.

Before launching a new campaign, award-winning advertisers like Washington Olivetto typically conduct qualitative audience surveys to find out 1) whether people get the message and 2) whether they like it.

Of course, you can’t do that in journalism, where you’re always running out of time, because the product is highly perishable, especially now with 24-hour online news, on all platforms.

But it’s important to know what readers think about our work, what we can change to better serve their interests.

The idea of ​​creating Datafolha arose at a lunch at the top of the newspaper with Mr. Frias (Octavio Frias de Oliveira, owner of the newspaper) and the legendary publicist Alex Periscinoto, who at one point dropped the question in surprise:

“But don’t you have a research department here to know the profile of the newspaper’s reader? How do you find your way around at work?”

Since then, Folha has never stopped evaluating its product with the main interested parties, but has transformed Datafolha into the most important and respected public opinion polling institute in the country.

That’s why I decided to write this column, inspired by the request of the paulistano/carioca and today a London citizen, Olivetto, because I don’t think it’s ugly to ask readers for help. What is ugly is not knowing what they think and want from us, since our craft as scribblers must serve the interests of the distinguished public, and no one else.

It is they, the readers, at the end of the story, who pay our salaries. I just live off that, I don’t have other sources of income, as the INSS pension doesn’t even cover my health plan. So, yes, I’m concerned about the audience. As we know, there is no circus without a box office.

Please write to me, please, here in the comments area, suggesting topics from other areas of interest, any of them. Life cannot be about politics alone. As far as possible, I will try to escape it.

Thanks.

Life that starts over.

In time: I send a strong hug of solidarity from here to the great journalist Mino Carta, tireless creator and director of publications, who revolutionized and professionalized our craft, whose important role in the press and in Brazilian politics over the last 50 years, will one day be recognized by biographers and historians.

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