Natalia is a Brazilian journalist currently based in London.
She has worked as an investigative reporter for the influential political magazine Caros Amigos, as a correspondent for US newscast Free Speech Radio News and for the UK agency Global Radio News.
Natalia’s first book, Plantados no chao (Planted in the earth) came out in Brazil in June 2007. It exposes political assassinations in Brazil in recent years. She was awarded two national prizes for her investigative work and a scholarship from the British Council to study for a masters degree in London.
Why did you decide to focus on social and human rights issues?
Actually I didn’t take that decision; it was a natural path. When I started working in journalism I soon realised how important it is for a reporter to expose inequalities that are not being addressed.
In Brazil, the mainstream media gives little attention to social issues and the real problems that people face. I suppose that’s because our media is owned by a handful of private companies, each one of them with their own political agenda. It is very common for congressmen to own TV channels and radio stations, even though it is against the law. So the day-by-day political coverage ends up being no more than a party-led political dispute.
In what way do you believe your work is changing that?
I believe I am part of a trend in Brazilian media in which independent voices are trying to find a way to report about poverty, social issues and development. We are now starting to be heard and more small, independent vehicles are appearing. I think the internet has helped a lot, because now people can find the information they want. It gives them the right to say what they want to know. So in a way, the big media is being forced to listen a little bit.
How do you think your journalism has changed over the years?
Reporting on social issues outside South America has been extremely enriching. I think it has showed me that even though media coverage is still quite regional, some issues concern people all over the world. It is a shame that multinationals are able to cross borders so easily while journalism is still very local and limited.
I think by learning about the stories, experiences and struggles of other people, every society would be better prepared to face its own challenges. That’s why I admire the work of Panos. I wish we had something similar in Portuguese.