HOT OFF THE PRESS

Colombia 2020 | ECONOMY | INTERVIEW

Portafolio keeps its journalistic eye trained on the areas of business and the economy, while seeking to increase its readership to new audiences.

Francisco Miranda
BIOGRAPHY

Francisco Miranda is the director of the Portafolio newspaper of Casa Editorial El Tiempo S.A. He graduated a political scientist from Universidad Pontificia Javeriana with an emphasis on political participation. He holds a specialization degree in social economics from the Universidad de los Andes and a master's in public administration from Columbia University in New York. Throughout his professional career, he has held different positions including senior advisor in strategic communications to the Presidential Office and manager and strategist of communications agencies specialized in handling media and corporate messages. He previously worked as editor of politics, economy, and business in Semana magazine and was opinion editor at Casa Editorial El Tiempo S.A.

As you were newly appointed in September 2019, what is the new direction that you will bring to Portafolio?
I entered Portafolio's newsroom with one main goal: to keep our newspaper as Colombia's leading business publication. These are hard times for not only print media but also journalism as a whole. Technological changes, the appeal of fake news and misinformation, and the legitimacy crisis facing institutions like legacy media, are undermining the cornerstones of journalism in contemporary societies: trust, credibility, and fact-based reporting.

What are the main goals and objectives of the publication?
Portafolio is a three-pronged institution: a professional newsroom, a committed commercial team, and management team. Each one of these three has clear objectives to accomplish. Our newsroom must maintain the quality of our content for our audiences, our readership, and our social networks' users and followers. Portafolio's commercial team works creatively in search of new and appealing formats for our advertisers and partners. Management balances the requirements and needs of these teams to keep our business healthy.

What are the main types of news in the Colombian market?
The Colombian news market is not homogeneous and is digital. It also has a wide array of journalistic formats with good reception among the public: newspapers, magazines, radio morning news broadcasts, radio afternoon shows, radio evening shows, TV newscasts, websites, Twitter accounts, and YouTube channels focusing on political news and opinion.

How does your newspaper keep itself at the top of the competition?
Portafolio is focused on economics and business news. We are concentrated in this niche audience and always trying to expand it, appeal to new readers, and to understand what readers want to know about our economy and business environment. We combine our 26 years of journalistic tradition and experience with the ability to adapt to Colombia's ever-changing business environment to stay on top.

How is Portafolio covering the news regarding the coronavirus?
The COVID-19 pandemic, along with the strategies deployed against the virus, have triggered several crises: a public health crisis, an economic crisis, and a political crisis. In applying drastic health measures, economies have practically closed down. Globally, we are experiencing a major economic downturn, even worse than the 2008 financial crisis. Our newsroom is covering these three faces of the pandemic: the brutal shock to major sectors of Colombian and Latin American economies, the untested strategies health authorities are deploying against COVID-19, including testing and hospital preparation, and the political battle within our country and democratic system that has been unleashed by social tensions.

Do you work together with other media outlets to keep the population informed?
Portafolio is part of a publishing company called El Tiempo, which has a namesake newspaper, a local TV channel, and several magazines. We work closely, especially in our digital sites, to combine our resources to generate better, higher-quality content.

How challenging is it to maintain a diversified range of news, especially in these difficult times?
It is definitively a challenge to keep a diversified range of news, but our coverage is oriented to provide news and content from a constantly evolving business environment. As a middle-income country, Colombia is experiencing a surge and consolidation of new business sectors in energy, technology, cannabis, e-commerce, and others. The government is also facing new challenges in terms of policy, regulation, and intervention in areas such as apps, privacy, and telecoms. Our goal is to maintain a first-rate coverage of these tensions and realignments among the government, businesses, and society.

What are the plans and expectations for Portafolio in 2020?
The current pandemic has changed most plans we had for 2020, but our goals hold: keeping up our leadership role in Colombian business publications via premium content about business and the economy; strengthening our digital presence and social network marketing strategy; and developing creative formats for advertisers and partners.