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REVISTA PAUTA GERAL

ESTUDOS EM JORNALISMO
10.5212/RevistaPautaGeral.v.3.i2.0011

PHILIP MEYER: PRECISO NA


INFORMAO E QUALIDADE NA GESTO
Quatro dcadas aps a publicao da obra Precision
Journalism, o uso de mtodos das cincias sociais ganha
destaque na prtica jornalstica, como por exemplo na
cobertura do Panam Papers

Entrevista com Philip Meyer


American journalist and emetirus teacher of Journalism
at North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Nesta edio a revista Pauta Geral - Estudos em Jornalismo entrevista


167
o jornalista americano e professor Emrito de Jornalismo da Universidade
Carolina do Norte em Chapel Hill Philip Meyer. Com mais de 20 anos de
experincia no mercado, Meyer atuou como reprter, correspondente e
diretor. professor desde a dcada de 1980 e contribui de forma notria
para as pesquisas do campo profissional, com nfase em jornalismo de
preciso, jornalismo cvico, indstria de jornal, qualidade do jornalismo e
tecnologia de comunicao. Desde 2005, o National Institute for
Computer-Assisted Reporting em parceria com a Walter Cronkite School of
Journalism and Mass Communication da Universidade do Arizona criaram o
prmio Philip Meyer para prestigiar as melhores reportagens utilizando
mtodos de pesquisa em cincias sociais.

Rodrigo Menegat1

1Contriburam para a realizao desta entrevista Clber Moletta, Elaine Schmitt, Felipe Pontes e
Paula Melani Rocha.

Revista Pauta Geral-Estudos em Jornalismo, Ponta Grossa, vol.3, n.2 p.167-172 , Jul/Dez
2016.
REVISTA PAUTA GERAL
ESTUDOS EM JORNALISMO
10.5212/RevistaPautaGeral.v.3.i2.0011

Desde a virada da dcada, o termo 'jornalismo de dados' entrou no


vocabulrio das redaes. Muitas vezes, a prtica considerada algo
completamente novo e uma possvel soluo para um modelo de
negcios combalido.

H quem diga, porm, que trata-se de um fenmeno mais antigo.


John Snow, epidemiologista britnico que viveu entre 1813 e 1858,
apontado como um dos precursores da prtica (CAIRO, 2013; BRADSHAW,
2014), por exemplo.

J no sculo 20, Philip


Meyer, reprter e professor
universitrio americano, foi um dos
primeiros a sistematizar e propor 168
uma metodologia para o uso de
informaes quantitativas nas
redaes.

Em Precision Journalism
(1973), Meyer defende a
aproximao entre jornalismo e

tcnicas de pesquisa quantitativa


das cincias sociais. O livro , em
sua maior parte, um manual para
jornalistas tradicionalmente
Imagem: acervo Amazon
avessos a disciplinas como
matemtica e estatstica
trabalharem com nmeros.

Revista Pauta Geral-Estudos em Jornalismo, Ponta Grossa, vol.3, n.2 p.167-172 , Jul/Dez
2016.
REVISTA PAUTA GERAL
ESTUDOS EM JORNALISMO
10.5212/RevistaPautaGeral.v.3.i2.0011

Entretanto, o mais importante que o professor defende a adoo


de um mtodo verificvel e rigoroso para a produo de notcias.

Em uma era em que so postos em dvida alguns dos valores


fundamentais da profisso, entre eles o antes inquestionvel ideal de
objetividade, a contribuio de Meyer faz sentido para reforar o rigor
metodolgico e o esforo para alcanar transparncia na prtica
jornalstica. Muita coisa mudou: amplia-se a oferta de dados esto
disponveis e as tcnicas para trabalh-los se tornaram mais sofisticadas
(HOLOVATY, 2006; HOWARD, 2014). Ainda assim, pode-se dizer que os
princpios do ofcio seguem os mesmos.
169

Foto: Bill Cloud

Revista Pauta Geral-Estudos em Jornalismo, Ponta Grossa, vol.3, n.2 p.167-172 , Jul/Dez
2016.
REVISTA PAUTA GERAL
ESTUDOS EM JORNALISMO
10.5212/RevistaPautaGeral.v.3.i2.0011

Pauta Geral: The increasing Meyer: No. Government


number of reporters and information will never be enough.
newsrooms doing data journalism, Journalists must know how to
or at least using some of its collect data as well as analyze it.
techniques, does effectively helps
to bring journalism closer to the PG: How important is it for
social sciences? journalism to be methodologically
strict? Is there any difference,
Philip Meyer: I hope so. But I fear regarding the method, between
that there is a tendency to believe investigative reporting and the
that use of computers alone is daily beats?
sufficient to make an investigation
scientific. The purpose of scientific Meyer: The standards for
method is to ask a question of your discovering and imparting the
data without being fooled by the truth should not vary. But some
answer. If carelessly used, the truths are more difficult to obtain.
power of computers just enables That is why we have investigative
greater mistakes. reporting. 170
PG: Recently, Pro-Publica PG: On The Vanishing Newspaper,
launched its data store, which sells you claim that daily newspapers
clean and optimized datasets for might disappear by 2043 since the
third parties. Will data journalism younger generations arent used
become, eventually, a reliable to reading them. Does this also
income source for news apply to the new media, such as
organizations? on the internet and in mobiles?
How will those younger
Meyer: Could be. The search for a generations consume news from
stable business model is still now on?
ongoing. We are in a period of
experiment and exploration and Meyer: Sorry, but thats not what I
will have to try many things before said. If the present rate of decline
we can know what works. were to continue, the last every-
day newspaper reader would
PG: How do you evaluate the indeed vanish in 2043. But such
current state of policies straight-line trends do not persist in
concerning access to information the real world. I reported that
and governmental accountability hypothetical zero point only to
[in a global level]? Are they show the steepness of the decline,
enough to provide the range of not to make a prediction. Nature
information required for practicing does not like straight lines.
data journalism?

Revista Pauta Geral-Estudos em Jornalismo, Ponta Grossa, vol.3, n.2 p.167-172 , Jul/Dez
2016.
REVISTA PAUTA GERAL
ESTUDOS EM JORNALISMO
10.5212/RevistaPautaGeral.v.3.i2.0011

PG: Do news organizations that Meyer: Everything has changed.


function [work] outside the The first edition was published in
traditional business model favor 1973. Changes in both the news
the practice of journalism which is business and technology
closer to the needs, desires and motivated me to bring out new
expectations of local editions in 1979, 1991, and 2002.
communities? The biggest change in journalism
has been its decentralization,
Meyer: I wish that were so. The induced by the Internet, and I do
beauty of the industrial-age not think it has been for the better.
business model was that wiser Powerful and profitable
publishers found profit in newspapers were important
community service. Using a stabilizing forces for democracy.
newspapers social influence to The media environment today is
benefit the community made its relatively chaotic. Who or what
commercial influence, its makes the best use of the tools of
advertising, more valuable. There journalism remains to be seen.
might be a way to apply that
model to non-traditional forms of PG: Has the journalistic method
171
journalism, but much changed due to the increasing
experimentation remains to be range of information available
done in order to find it. today?

PG: Could you list some examples Meyer: Of course. Thats why we
of online news organizations that need precision journalism. For a
fulfill the interests and needs of historical parallel, look at food
smaller local communities? production and the transition from
a hunter-gather economy to
Meyer: The scene changes so agriculture to food industry. See
quickly, that any list is at risk of chapter 11 of my The Vanishing
becoming obsolete as soon as it is Newspaper, 2d edition (2009).
posted. As a general rule, I believe
that the most narrowly specialized PG: Might journalists also vanish, or
online operations have the best could at least their skillset
chance of survival. Craigslist is a change? Why?
good example.
Meyer: Journalists will always be
PG: In the five decades since needed, and the economy will
Precision Journalism was released, always discover a way to support
did journalism become any them. But that discovery process
better? could be long and painful. This is
an interesting time to be a

Revista Pauta Geral-Estudos em Jornalismo, Ponta Grossa, vol.3, n.2 p.167-172 , Jul/Dez
2016.
REVISTA PAUTA GERAL
ESTUDOS EM JORNALISMO
10.5212/RevistaPautaGeral.v.3.i2.0011

journalist, and that is both a HOLOVATY, Adrian. A


blessing and a curse. For todays fundamental way newspaper sites
young journalists, it is a wonderful need to change. Adrian Holovaty,
opportunity. 6 set. 2006. Disponvel em:
<http://www.holovaty.com/writing
/fundamental-change>. Acesso:
References: 15 jun. 2015.

CAIRO, Alberto. The Functional Art: HOWARD, Alexander. The Art And
an introduction to information Science of Data-Driven Journalism.
graphics and visualization. 1 ed. 30 mai. 2014. Disponvel em:
Berkeley: New Riders, 2013. <http://towcenter.org/the-art-
and-science-of-data-driven-
BRADSHAW, Paul. Is there a journalism/>. Acesso: 23. jul. 2015.
canon of data journalism?
Comment call! Online Journalism MEYER, Philip. (1968). 1968: A
Blog, 20 mai. 2014. Disponvel em: Newspapers Role Between the
<http://onlinejournalismblog.com/
2014/05/20/is-there-a-canon-of-
Riots. Nieman Reports. 15 dez.
1999. Disponvel em:
172
data-journalism>. Acesso: 20 jun. <http://niemanreports.org/articles/
2015 1968-a-newspapers-role-between-
the-riots/>. Acesso: 10 jul. 2015.

Revista Pauta Geral-Estudos em Jornalismo, Ponta Grossa, vol.3, n.2 p.167-172 , Jul/Dez
2016.