In his masterpiece “The Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas”, Machado de Assis, the greatest writer of Brazilian literature, taught us that the method of compensating for a closed window is to open another. While the world of journalism undergoes transformations and hurtles into the unknown, our team of reporters, editors, designers, developers and engineers (made up of Brazilians, Australians, Americans and even a Frenchman, based in Brazil and the United States) is launching a project that hopes to become a window of opportunities. On the one hand, we aim to provide relevant and in-depth material to interested consumers, while at the same time offering a platform to journalists and content providers who want to share their quality products with the world. One group depends on the other. BRIO, which begins its journey, depends on both.
This article is not written with Brás Cubas’ “playful pen” (so commonly used among journalists, satirical by nature), or indeed his “melancholy ink” (more common still, especially in times such as ours). These are the words of someone who has the desire to take risks, experiment, look for solutions and even make mistakes before finally getting it right and offering something relevant to the lives of consumers and producers of information.
BRIO commits to make life easier for journalists during the creative process, by way of expense advances, rigorous research and editing processes, translation to English and Portuguese and marketing and PR campaigns created specifically, in-house, for each story. With BRIO’s model, which we regard as fair to everyone involved, the authors keep 55% of the sales profits, while we take the remaining 45% to cover our running costs.
It is a tough job, often testing (seeing as we do not have daily face-to-face contact), but always has a single objective in mind: to allow our authors to produce something they can be proud of, while attracting more and more readers, or rather, consumers.
I use the word consumers because BRIO’s final products are not just texts, slaved over extensively alongside our reporters. BRIO is a different kind of platform, as we seek the most suitable medium for each individual story, before weaving different forms of material into a carefully produced tapestry. Our stories will often be accompanied by videos, animations, audio, photo essays and so forth. All to turn the experience of consuming information into something much more pleasurable.
In this last year, amid many crises to build the company and butterflies in the stomach to make it a reality, we have been able to feel the receptivity of our authors. Long before BRIO went live, we built the first part of the trident that keeps the business alive (freelancers, consumers eager for quality information and our own team).
We have worked with more than two dozen people across all continents, with at least another dozen seeking us out to forge partnerships. As part of our launch, we have work from journalists who have travelled across India, China, Mexico, the United States and of course, Brazil. There is a mixture of youth and experience, with professionals decorated with some of the most important awards in journalism, such as the Pulitzer Prize, alongside the young talents that are springing up all over the world. They all put their trust into BRIO, until then an unknown platform.
They understood that we are willing to give the necessary support for our partners to go after stories which they are passionate about, as well as being curious and keen to develop further. It is not an easy job, which is why we have attracted such qualified journalists, people who did not know each other before, who speak diverse languages and find themselves in various parts of the world. The problems we face are practical and often banal, such as organizing a meeting between a photographer in the interior of India, one of our editors in Brazil and a reporter in the United States.
By way of traditional practices such as phone calls and face-to-face meetings, as well as using algorithms and online tools, we have gotten in touch with people interested in sharing our stories. Medium is a community of readers, making it a fundamental player and ally in the beginning of our journey.
While we strive to facilitate the process of producing content, as well as how that content makes its way to specific audiences, we also want to encourage communities that share and discuss a wide range of topics. Such networks are more important than ever in a world where democracy is the name of the game, but violence, waves of authoritarianism, prejudice and the lack of information make these respectful and useful conversations scarcer.
This is our pledge: to find the right authors to write the right stories and deliver them to the right audiences. We are the means, not the end. BRIO’s destiny will be determined by the producers who develop stories that are entertaining but also necessary. It will be determined by the consumers who still have an interest in reading in-depth and quality content.
BRIO is live. Everyone is welcome. Our doors and windows are open.