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Chateaubriand Bandeira de Melo, Francisco de Assis (1892–1968)

Chateaubriand Bandeira de Melo, Francisco de Assis (1892–1968)

Francisco de Assis Chateaubriand Bandeira de Melo was one of the most important figures in the evolution of the mass media in twentieth-century Brazil. Born October 4, 1892, in Umbuzeiro, Paraíba, he stuttered as a child and did not learn to read and write until he was around age twelve. He began to work as a reporter while still a teenager in Recife. He gained national attention when, as a recent law school graduate in 1915, he competed for a teaching position at his alma mater; he went to Rio de Janeiro to argue his case and made valuable allies while demonstrating polemical and political skills in the process. Never to spend a day in the classroom again, he relocated to Rio. A practicing lawyer as well as a journalist, he aspired to become a newspaper publisher. After working as a foreign correspondent and a managing editor of the Jornal do Brasil, he got his chance in 1924 when he became publisher of O Jornal and quickly doubled advertising revenues. Over the next several decades he created the largest empire of newspapers, magazines, radio stations, television stations, and advertising agencies in Latin America, Diários e Emissoras Associados. He regularly acq-uired the latest technology to improve the look and style of his newspapers and magazines. In 1935 he founded his first radio station; in 1950 he launched the first television station in South America. His national preeminence in his field led him to be elected senator (representing his home state, as well as Maranhão) and ambassador to the United Kingdom in the 1950s, but he paid scant attention to his duties in either position. One of his lasting achievements was the creation of the Museu de Arte de São Paulo. Paralyzed for much of the last decade of his life, he continued to play an active role in the management of his many businesses. He died April 4, 1968.

See alsoRadio and Television; Journalism; Journalism in Mexico.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Morais, Fernando. Chatô: O rei do Brasi. São Paulo, Brazil: Companhia das Letras, 1994.

                              Andrew J. Kirkendall

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