Veja magazine was founded in 1968, in the harshest period of the Military Dictatorship (1964-1985), by Roberto Civita, son of Italian-American media enterpreneur Victor Civita, founder of Grupo Abril. Despite the acute financial and credibility crisis faced by their magazine today, until late 2016 it was the magazine with the largest circulation in Brazil, with an average of 1,111,968 copies printed, way ahead of the second place, Época magazine, owned by Editora Globo, with an average of 340,195 copies.
Roberto Civita was born in Milan in 1936 and moved with his family to Brazil in 1950, after a period when his Jewish-Italian family lived in New York. At 22 years old, while doing an internship at Time magazine (US), he was called by his father to take over the publishing of Grupo Abril magazines. It was then that the project was born that changed the face of the editor: the news magazine Realidade (1966-1976), focused on long journalism articles, Veja (since 1958), specialized in politics, and the Brazilian version of Playboy magazine (1975-2015).
Roberto Civita official biography underlines his role in the “defense of press freedom and democracy”. In their beginnings, indeed, Veja and Realidade magazines were created in a more progressist line: Veja’s first editor was journalist Mino Carta and the contract he signed with Abril guaranteed the magazine’s editorial independence in relation to the group. Under Carta’s editorial direction, the magazine published a series of articles that opposed the military governments: the repression of the União Nacional dos Estudantes (National Student Union – UNE), in Ibiúna (state of São Paulo) in October, 1968; the proclamation of the Ato Institucional nº5 (Institutional Act 5: AI-5), which inaugurated the most violent phase of the military regime; the execution by the army police of Chael Charles Schreier, which contradicted the military government’s statement that there was no torture in Brazil. Realidade magazine, at first, followed the same editorial line, with longer articles: they denounced François Duvalier dictatorship in Haiti; they interviewed exiled politicians such as João Goulart, Leonel Brizola and Celso Furtado; they published sections of Che Guevara’s journals; they published a special edition about women with polemical topics like abortion and virginity. Both magazines, however, have become more and more conservative with time and drifted away from their democratic principles.
Realidade magazine, already in 1969, started focusing more on behavior and published a series of articles about the military government actions, interviews with regime leaderships and a laudatory profile of General Emílio Garrastazu Médici. Veja changed its profile in 1976, after Mino Carta’s resignation due to military pressure, and an ever stronger control by Roberto Civita over its editorial line. Under Roberto Civita and editorial direction by José Roberto Guzzo, followed by Mário Sérgio Conti, the magazine started openly defending less state intervention in the economy, the welcoming of foreign capital, privatizations, the punishment of worker union movement’s and the “gradual, slow and safe” end of the regime, as the military wanted. With the redemocratization, the magazine always backed center-right and right-wing candidates in presidential elections.
The magazine became a leader in readership in the 1980’s and remains so until today. Political and economical interference in the journalists’ work continued in the group. In 1995, for example, Roberto Civita asked sports journalist Juca Kfouri to no longer criticize CBF’s (Brazilian Soccer Confederation) president Ricardo Teixeira in Placar magazine’s pages, which led the journalist to resign after 25 years of services. The safeguarding of political and economical positions connected to the group’s interests also continued. This stance is published in sensationalist covers which produce manichaeist discourses. In the early 2000s, for example, Veja magazine covers which demonized MST (Landless Workers Movement) leaders became notorious, as demonstrates Kleber Mendonça. In 2016, before the impeachment of president Dilma Roussef, the magazine anticipated celebrations in a cover which brought Dilma’s picture and the headline “Out of the deck” (April 4th, 2016).
After Roberto Civita’s death in 2013, Grupo Abril started being run by his sons Giancarlo Civita and Victor Civita Neto. In order to attract inverstors after a drop in their advertisement income, the magazine changed their editorial staff, with journalist André Petri as chief editor. In some editions the change didn’t please some of the magazine’s more conservative readers. The cover of October 11th, 2017 called extreme right-wing federal deputy Jair Bolsonaro a “threat” to Brazil, and received criticism by readers who support Bolsonaro and deemed the cover “fake news”. In the following week, the cover brought an article about families with transgender children. The reaction was even stronger: the hashtag “Veja lixo” (“Veja is garbage”) was the largest trending topic on Twitter, followed by messages that accused the magazine of becoming “extreme-left” and defending “gender ideology”.
Paid content (magazine)
Media Companies / Groups
Veja belongs to Grupo Abril. The group is owned by the Civita family (70%) and by the South African media conglomerate Naspers (30%).
Group / Individual Owner
Roberto Civita - He is son of the Grupo Abril founder, Victor Civita. He inherited from his father the control of Grupo Abril and the group's magazine business.
Walter Longo - president of Grupo Abril since 2016. Longo is a member of boards of several companies, a member of the Main Board of the conservative think thank Millennium Institute.
André Petry - Editor-in-Chief of Veja magazine since 2016. According to the journalist Luiz Nassif, the choice of Petry as the editor-in-chief is an attempt to change the image of the newspaper, after years of betting on a radical right-wing audience.
Other Important People
Thomaz Souto Corrêa - vice President of Abril Editorial Board.
Alecsandra Zapparoli – editorial director of Editora Abril.
Revenue (in Mill. $)
Operating Profit (in Mill. $)
Advertising (in % of total funding)
http://portfoliodemidia.meioemensagem.com.br/portfolio/midia/VEJA+NACIONAL/19037/home Meio & Mensagem. Portfolio: Veja. Accessed 1 october 2017.