Centre County Report in Brazil

Newscast/Story posted May 7, 2012 in Centre County Report, Brazil by Comm 402 International Reporting

Three faculty members took 17 print, broadcast, photo and multimedia journalism students to Rio de Janeiro for an eight-day reporting trip over spring break 2012, the end of winter in State College but a hot and humid late summer in Brazil. The trip marked the fourth time student journalists from the international reporting class of the College of Communications have ventured forth to explore another corner of the world.

We chose Brazil because of its startling transformation from a country that had always seemed to have been known for its potential to one that is, at last, prized for its performance. Brazil is the B in BRIC -— Russia, India and China being the others -— the acronym for the four emerging economic giants whose natural and human resources, manufacturing skills and agricultural prowess have changed the world’s economy. Of the four, Brazil is perhaps the least known — a continent-sized country of 190 million that still somehow feels like a lonely island of Portuguese speakers in Spanish speaking South America.

Of its great cities, Rio de Janeiro is neither its largest nor its most important, but it is the showcase of Brazil’s culture, arbiter of its style, originator of its musical and fashion tastes, and host to millions of tourists. Cariocas, as Rio natives are called, know how to throw a party. It was here that our students found stories about the controversial musical form known as funk, often described as hip hop with a political edge; about efforts to understand and preserve the nation’s slave history; about uniquely Brazilian religions that face increasing discrimination; and about the great national angst over soccer. It was here that one of our students found the very table in the very café that the iconic Bossa Nova hit “Girl From Ipanema” was written 50 years ago.

The story here is also one of Brazil’s uneasy transformation from poor nation to rich nation. There are $14 million condos along the beach —- Rio’s real estate is now pricier than New York or London -— that are only a few blocks from the poverty and violence of shantytowns that have suddenly become prime targets of development, as well as tourist attractions.  South of the city, megasuburbs are springing up, mile after mile of gated communities, office parks, Mercedes dealerships and American fast food restaurants. As Brazil is getting rich, it is also getting fat. Obesity rates are climbing to almost U.S.-levels, and Rio has become the cosmetic surgery capital of the world.

We hope you will find a balanced and informative portrait of this fascinating city in South America’s most important country. We’re eager to hear any comments or criticisms you may have.

-- Tony Barbieri

(Barbieri is the Foster Professor of Writing and Editing at Penn State. He is a former managing editor of The Baltimore Sun and a long-time foreign correspondent. The other faculty members on the trip were Judy Maltz-Schejter and Curt Chandler.)

About the Contributors

Kelley King's photo

Kelley King

2012 Graduate / Visual Journalism

Kelley is a Penn State graduate with a major in visual journalism and a minor in sociology. She has interned as a multimedia reporter at two.one.five magazine in Philadelphia, as a lifestyle writer at the Lansdale Reporter, and worked three years on the staff of The Daily Collegian student newspaper, where she was Photo/Multimedia Chief.
In 2012 she traveled to Rio de Janeiro to do field work for Comm 402, International Reporting.

Chloe Elmer's photo

Chloe Elmer

2012 Graduate / Visual Journalism

Chloe Elmer graduated in Spring 2012 with a major in visual journalism and a minor in psychology. She was the photo editor and an active staff photographer for The Daily Collegian, Penn State’s independently-run student newspaper.
She traveled to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2012 for a class on international reporting. In the summer of 2010, she spent 10 weeks in London, where she interned at Archant, the largest independently-owned media company in the United Kingdom. These experiences helped her to gain valuable global professional experience and a more independent mindset.
Though she enjoys photographing any type of event, sports and spot news are two of her favorites. She is currently widening her skills through wedding and portrait photography

Shadé Olasimbo's photo

Shadé Olasimbo

Senior / Broadcast Journalism; Sports Journalism

My name is Folashade Olasimbo, but I prefer to be called Shadé. I am from Houston, Texas, and I am a Senior at The Pennsylvania State University, University Park Campus. I am a Broadcast Journalism Major, a member of The John Curley Center for Sports Journalism, with Sociology and Theatre Minors, graduating in May of 2012. Among many goals in life, I would enjoy working in as on-air talent for television news, radio, or other markets, but I also value behind the scenes production and technical work. Some of my passions include theatre, music, and writing.

Kelsey Penna's photo

Kelsey Penna

Senior / Broadcast Journalism and English

Currently, I am senior at Penn State University.  I will be graduating in May 2012 with a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism and English.

Throughout my four years at Penn State, I have been actively involved in ComRadio. 

As a freshman I joined ComRadio and have held every position in the News Department.  My positions have included, reporter, producer and currently News Director.  My experience with ComRadio has given me the leadership skills, knowledge and drive to be able to be a producer at a radio or television station.

I interned at WPSU, an NPR affiliate, in State College.  As their only news intern, I was responsible for pitching story ideas, interviewing sources, and editing my stories.  This internship gave me the ability to connect with many different people around the community and to paint a picture with my stories.

I have had a lot of experience in radio, but I am very interested in television as well.  I am a reporter and anchor for Centre County Report, a weekly local television newscast produced by Penn State Journalism students.  I will be traveling to Brazil in March to be an international reporter.

Cassandra Hom's photo

Cassandra Hom

Senior / Broadcast Journalism

Cassandra Hom is a senior majoring in Broadcast Journalism with a minor in sociology and international studies at Penn State University.  She is a reporter for ComRadio, the Penn State student-run radio station that features news and sports.  Additionally, she is also a reporter and producer for the Centre County Report.  Cassandra is currently a production intern for the Pennsylvania Cable Network.  Recently, she returned from an international reporting trip in Brazil for the McClatchy news service.  In May 2012, Cassandra will graduate from Penn State and then pursue a career in television production. 

Catherine Marvin's photo

Catherine Marvin

2012 Graduate / Broadcast Journalism and Political Science

Catherine Marvin joined ComRadio as a reporter and anchor during her freshman year of college. By sophomore year, Catherine was a Producer for one of the weekly newscasts. She produced for four semesters before being accepted as News Director, her current position. She oversees the news department to coordinate all producers and reporters.

In the spring of 2011, Catherine won the Pennsylvania Associated Press Broadcasters Award in medium market news for a radio story she investigated about academic integrity at universities.

Catherine’s first internship was with WCBS News Radio 880 in New York City. She had the opportunity to monitor breaking news stories, cut news sound and baseball highlights, as well as write articles for the website.

This past summer, Catherine interned at MSNBC in New York City with the Martin Bashir Show. The hands on internship provided her with experience in creating graphics and lower thirds for air, producing voiceovers, and assisting with in-studio and remote guests. She also logged high profile trials and pitched story ideas to segment producers.

Catherine will be traveling to Brazil in March with an international reporting class. Additionally, she is working on production and reporting for We are: the Millennials; a student run news magazine show.

John Andreadis's photo

John Andreadis

2012 Graduate / Broadcast Journalism

I am a Broadcast Journalism major here at The Pennsylvania State University. I have minors in both Communication Arts & Sciences (CAS) and Theatre and will be graduating in May of 2012. Through internships, I learned that I enjoy being involved in all aspects of broadcast journalism; whether it’s the actual reporting or the production of the story. In a nutshell, I am a soccer enthusiast, theatre-geek, and enjoy all types of writing and music.