Two decades of much more than a magazine

Over 20 years, Viração Magazine has followed the transformations in digital culture and politics, expanding and branching out into new participation processes and educommunication products.

By Bruno Ferreira, Vice President of Viração Educommunication

Twenty years ago, the world was still crawling and marveling at the possibilities that the internet offered us to communicate with different people. The first virtual social network, Orkut, had not yet been created, but there were already several ways to connect and share content with friends. The MSN platform for instant messaging and email were some of these possibilities.

It was from this technological base and the political context of the time with Lula in his first presidential term, by expanding and encouraging popular participation Paulo Lima had a visionary idea: to create a communication vehicle that would be, more than a means of information, a transformative process of exercising the right to communication and collaboration among groups of teenagers and young people from different parts of Brazil. Or, as he often says: “A printed social project”.

That’s how Viração Magazine was born. Although it was a print vehicle at the time, its process could only be made possible thanks to the digital culture that was expanding and has changed over these 20 years since the magazine’s zero issue in March 2003. In the beginning, the “virajovens” nuclei, which brought together groups of adolescent and young reporters, were articulated through an email group and a monthly editorial meeting via MSN. Exchanges in these spaces were full of ideas and updates on the themes and political agendas of youth groups in their territories. From the magazine’s editorial office in São Paulo, the team has always welcomed and addressed the demands of young collaborators for stories and reports.

The nuclei forms of interlocution and articulation have also followed the changes in digital culture, but all of them have been signaled by the youths who have participated in Viração over the last two decades. At many times we realized that the use of certain platforms for articulation was obsolete. It was necessary to migrate from email and MSN to Facebook groups and chat and later to WhatsApp – whenever a platform lost its meaning, it was and still is replaced by another that the (virajovens) have showed more interest in.

The educommunication products and processes led by the magazine have also transformed over these 20 years in line with political and technological changes, digital advancements and the youth’s appropriation of new virtual spaces, originating new forms of contact with its collaborators, new processes such as real-time educommunicative coverages and also new products, exclusively virtual, like the Youth News Agency, created to meet the demand for frequent content that a monthly magazine of 36 pages could no longer provide. In this way, the magazine as a product was also repositioned. From being multi-thematic with a comprehensive cover story, it became an in-depth vehicle on youth rights in its thematic issues.

Through the “virajovens”, calls for proposals and partnerships, Viração has reached public spaces, provided information, supported political discussions, enchanted many people with its pages and processes and, over two decades, continues to be a space for meeting and expression of youth struggles, inspiring other practices in different segments of society: from new popular communication initiatives to methodological innovations in formal education based on educommunication and media education.

The principles of collectivity, collaboration and hands-on work proposed in the magazine’s methodology extend not only to other projects and programs run by the NGO Viração Educommunication, but are now values demanded in different social spheres, from school to the corporate world. For 20 years, Viração has manege to put into practice values ​​that society is still struggling to understand and materialize. For this reason, Viração deserves to be celebrated, continued and referenced as a source of inspiration for new initiatives committed to a more dialogical, diverse and fair society for young people.

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