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Intercom: Revista Brasileira de Ciências da Comunicação

Print version ISSN 1809-5844On-line version ISSN 1980-3508

Intercom, Rev. Bras. Ciênc. Comun. vol.38 no.1 São Paulo Jan./June 2015 


‘Crime, Punishment and Recovery’: how teenagers are represented in a series of reports from a Brazilian TV

Marcus Antônio Assis Lima1 

Flávia Moreira Mota e Mota1 

1(Universidade Estadual do Sudoeste da Bahia, Programa de Pós-Graduação em Letras: Cultura, Educação e Linguagens, Departamento de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas, Curso de Comunicação Social.Vitória da Conquista – BA, Brasil)


This article aims to examine how children and teenagers in conflict with the law are represented in television reports and if the information and descriptions contained therein correspond to the image that typified this social group, and if they fixed in common social knowledge. Therefore, we take as the object of analysis the series of articles entitled Crime, Punishment and Recovery, displayed from 20 to 23 August 2012 in Repórter Brazil from TV Brazil station. For the evaluation of that object, we used as categories of analysis the recommendations laid out in the booklet Teenagers in conflict with the law: Reference Guide for coverage, proposed by the News Agency for Children’s Rights (ANDI).

Keywords: Social Representation; Institutionalization; ANDI; Children and teenagers in conflict with the law; TV Brazil


Este artigo tem como proposta analisar como as crianças e adolescentes em situação de conflito com a lei são representadas nas reportagens televisivas e como as informações e descrições ali contidas correspondem à imagem tipificada desse grupo social, fixada no acervo social de conhecimento. Para tanto, tomamos como objeto de análise a série de reportagens intitulada Crime, Castigo e Recuperação, exibida de 20 a 23 de agosto de 2012, pelo jornal Repórter Brasil, da emissora TV Brasil. Para a avaliação do referido objeto, utilizamos como categorias de análise as recomendações dispostas na cartilha Adolescentes em conflito com a lei: Guia de referência para cobertura jornalística, proposta pela Agência de Notícias dos Direitos da Infância (ANDI).

Palavras-chave: Representação Social; Institucionalizações; ANDI; Criança e adolescente em conflito com a lei; TV Brasil


Este artículo tiene como objetivo examinar cómo se representan los niños y adolescentes en conflicto con la ley en los informes de la televisión y cómo la información y las descripciones contenidas en la televisión se corresponde con la imagen que caracteriza el grupo social, fijadas en el conocimiento social. Por lo tanto, se toma como objeto de análisis la serie de artículos titulados Crimen, castigo y recuperación, que há aparecido entre 20 a 23 agosto 2012 en Repórter Brasil, de la TV Brasil. Para la evaluación de ese objeto, que se utiliza como categorías de análisis las recomendaciones establecidas en el folleto Los adolescentes en conflicto con la ley: Manual de referencia para la cobertura, propuesto por la Agencia de Noticias por los Derechos del Niño (ANDI).

Palabras clave: Representación Social; Institucionalización; ANDI; Los niños y adolescentes en conflicto con la ley; TV Brasil

Initial considerations

My name was a young teenager, minor lawbreaker, pendant, packaged for gift, to radio, TV, newspapers, being blindfolded nobody saw me, juggle with flour, below the real life. (Malabares com Farinha – Paulo Monarco e Sandro Dornelles) (My translation)1.

This paper aims to analyse and discuss how Media draws the situation and experiences of children and adolescents who are in situations of street or in conflict with the law. The concern, that moves the considerations outlined here, is that a journalistic coverage performed without the care that this social group in particular needs, can result in the construction of stereotypes and the strengthening of pre-concepts.

Such assertion is supported in the knowledge that reality is not uniform, but is multi-faceted, so that one can only see plots, individual interpretations, fractions of the reality around us and to which we belong. This feeling of belonging creates in us the concept of the development of social roles that are interposed from established, relatively flexible, conventions, and which work as references of behaviour. The play of roles leads the individual to be part of a social world.

All conduct that it intends institutionalized involves a number of roles, which act in the controlling character of institutionalization. The conventions, once they are established, are responsible for structuring the society, and the individual who maybe does not fit on one of the pre-established social “ways” becomes liable to penalties, bans and segregations.

The conventions, to be shared, generate typifications, which occur when, as a matter of economy of time or effort, there is the attempt to establish certain behaviours to specific social groups. It is also a way of creating elements for interaction with their peers, setting the boundaries of forms of recognition of oneself and the other. We condition and act upon the means (as a group) to the same extent that it acts upon us. This process is closely linked to the type of habitualization that we have developed in our daily life. According to Berger and Luckmann (2010, p.75),

All human activity is subject to habitualization (habit). Any action that is repeated frequently becomes cast into a pattern, which can then be reproduced with an economy of effort and which, ipso facto, is apprehended by its performer as that pattern. Habitualization further implies (The habit implies, furthermore,) that the action in question may be performed again in the future in the same manner and with the same economical effort. This is true of non-social as well as of social activity. Even the solitary individual on the proverbial desert island habitualizes his activity. [...] even solitary man has at least the company of his operating procedures (Author’s Italics).

The repetition of habitualization generates legitimacy. Finally, the institutionalization of concepts and behaviours, which, although it does not always refer to something formally constituted, if it is disobeyed, also generates penalties and exclusions, whereas it is not only in the law field that there is repression against the transgression of an institutionalized act.

All institutionalization is a convention, and it is not something natural. Berger and Luckmann (2010, p.77) show the idea that the institutionalization occurs when “there is a reciprocal typification of habitualized actions by types of actors”. The society is characterized by the association of several institutions, and, for these to be always observed and respected, the social control is establishes. There are cases in which certain institutions cease to be in force, and the others immediately take their place, also working as an element of social control. To put it another way, the institutions would be supporters of order and social peace (an idealist form)). They would function as a regulatory instrument, and of pacification of life in society. Complementing this thought with the writings of these authors, “To say that a segment of human activity has been institutionalized is already to say that this segment of human activity has been subsumed under social control.” (BERGER; LUCKMANN, 2010, p.78).

The assimilation of typifications and institutionalizations is not often a conscious act. It is not always possible to carry out a reflexive exercise about the information that we take as real one, and about the things in which we believe, from what is presented to us as a representation of the elements that make up our reality. Notwithstanding, it was reflecting or not, our actions, behaviours and (pre) concepts are influenced by them considerably.

Children and adolescents in conflict with the law and its representation in TV

Linked to the idea of typifications, we find the notion of social representation. The latter can be defined as categories of thought through which certain society draws up and expressed their reality; they are not categories given a priori, but are linked to social facts, transforming themselves into social facts capable of observation and interpretation. A representation influence(s) not only the behaviour of an individual and of a collectivity, but can also be responsible for the appearance of another social representation.

Social representations are used to show how the ideas embody in collective experiences and interactions of behaviour. Moreover, a representation, as Santaella and Nöth (1997) assert, can play something that is present in the conscience, working as the systems of references that allow us to interpret reality, as attempting to fit each new event assimilated into categories increasingly segmented, what enables the dynamic of familiarization and the search for stability. According to Charaudeau (2012, p.47),

The representations, while building an organization of reality through mental images transposed in discourse or in other behavioural manifestations of individuals living in society, are included in the reality, or even are given, as they were the reality itself. They are based on empirical observation of social exchanges and produce a discourse of justification of those exchanges, producing a system of values, which rises in a reference standard. It is, therefore, prepared a certain social categorization of the reality, which reveals not only the relationship of “desirability” that the group entertains with its experience of everyday life, as well as the type of comment of intelligibility of the reality which characterizes it – a kind of developer metadiscourse of its positioning (My translation)2.

This assumption leads us to the other purpose of the representations, which is to name, classify, categorize new events and ideas and, from then on, the understanding and manipulation of these from the existing and widely disseminated values of the society. When we categorized someone or something, we do nothing more than to choose paradigms stored in our memory, and establish a relationship (positive or negative) with him/it. Alfredo Bosi (1977, p.33) postulates that

Predicating is to admit the existence of relations: assigning the being to the thing; saying about their real or fictitious quality; their movements; their bonds with the other things; mention the course of experience. Predicating is to exert the possibility of having a point of view (My translation)3.

According to Goffman (1988), the society has a tendency to categorize people based on pre-conceptions; before the unknown one immediately searches to frame it in pre-defined categories. Each social group has a decoder capacity, (this) means that what is stigma in one place, it may not be in another (for example, an individual may be considered a bandit for the police, but a true hero in the community in which he lives). In this sense, we agree with Maurice Halbwachs (1990, p.46), when he affirms that

The idea we most easily picture to ourselves, no matter how personal and specific its elements, is the idea others have of us. The events of our life most immediate to ourselves are also engraved in the memory of those groups closest to us.

The Media act as a fundamental instrument in relation to the creation and dissemination of these categories that we use to identify the social groups, which may have a positive or negative connotation, depending on how the discourse is employed and the intentions revealed in it. In this sense, Charaudeau (2012, p.59) explains that, “according to the context in which it appears, the information may produce an effect of trivialization, saturation, amalgam or, on the contrary, drama”4.

This can be realized when we refer to children and adolescents in a street situation or in a situation of conflict with the law. For a long time, these social actors were called “minor infringers” in the collective experience, “pickpocket”, “street children” and their image was always associated with violence and the risk that they could represent to the “respected citizens”.

We believe that, in part, the aforementioned feeling of insecurity was corroborated and accentuated by the Media (understood here by print press, radio, TV, and more recently the internet) and by the means that the information relating to this social group were divulged, what consequently generated about them a great “caricatured” representation. We can see this fact, for example, taking as reference television programs that (openly or not) adopt a more sensationalist posture, and eventually exploit the image of children and adolescents in conflict with the law in an inappropriate way. We see it in a report displayed in December 2010 by the “Gente na TV” Program5, in the Jangadeiro TV, affiliate of Bandeirantes TV Network in the State of Ceara. In attempting to show the “reality” in which the children were freely using drugs on the street (picture 1), the reporting team makes an unnecessary exposure, using terms such as “noiado”6, “deplorable condition”, “you’re crazy, are you?”, or “look at how he melts on the drug, he enjoys, vibrates...”, referring to the situation of children. Moreover, he insists on interviewing each one, even knowing that they were all under the influence of narcotics (glue and solvent).

Picture 1 Report on children who use drugs freely in the middle of the street Gente na TV Program – Jangadeiro TV 

The reporter also interviews some parents of children and, in the same way; he exposes the fragility of the relationship between parents and children. In one of the descriptions of the copy, we read, “parents of addicted children do not know how they can impose limits to children”.

It is undeniable the power that the Media (in its various forms of expression) has to disseminate information, which is never produced in a random manner, but it always has a sense, an intention and a meaning, and the power to influence the way of thinking and acting of its receptors. We agree with Agier (2001, p.18-19) to assert that

Images and notions circulate quicker and more massive, thanks to the supports (newspapers, telecommunications, outdoors, panels, screens of all types) accessible everywhere, even if, of course, it was with varying degrees of penetration. Thus, widespread ad infinitum, an extremely simplified and superficial image of the world tends to replace the personal and social experience from the realities of the other (My translation)7.

From what was shown, we emphasize that our objective in this article is to evaluate how children and adolescents in conflict with the law are represented in the television reports, and how the information and descriptions contained there correspond to the image typified for this social group, and that is fixed in the social collection of knowledge. Our intention is to check if there is a victimization of these social actors, either by how their life histories are exposed, or due to the use of adjectives which be assigned to them.

The parameter for the assessment proposed here is a primer entitled “Adolescents in conflict with the law: Referential Guide for journalistic coverage”. The publication offers a wide discussion on the theme “childhood and adolescence in the Media”, in addition to function as a true manual for Journalism professionals who might produce reports in this area. From this material, three basic categories were extracted to guide our evaluation, namely: 1) Choose of the Sources; 2) Words and expressions used in journalistic text to make reference to children and adolescents in conflict with the law and, finally, 3) Treatment of the image of children and adolescents in conflict with the law in the series of reports.

Thus, we take as the object of analysis a series of reports “Crime, Castigo e Recuperação”, displayed on August 20-23, 2012, by the Reporter Brazil Journal, from the broadcaster TV Brasil, which we shall discuss in more detail below.

TV Brasil and the coverage of topics on childhood and adolescence

The TV Brasil is a broadcaster that is part of the public field of broadcasting companies, in which we still find university, legislative and community character. One of the main attributions defined by the legislation about this field is that such broadcasting services cannot accept any kind of patronage or funding of private companies for their operation. However, in accordance with Jambeiro (2001) it has occurred in some broadcasters in the 1990s, such as the TV Culture from São Paulo, in order to improve their budgets.

On the TV Brasil, the broadcaster was created in December 2007, and it is managed by the Empresa Brasil de Comunicações (EBC), an entity that is also manager of the Agência Brasil, Radiogência Nacional, Brasil Internacional TV, MEC AM and FM Broadcasting, in addition to the Radios Nacional from Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, Amazônia and Solimões AM and FM Broadcastings. On its website, we find the description that “its purpose is to supplement and expand the supply of contents, offering a programming of informative, cultural, artistic, scientific, and citizenship-educator nature”.

The Reporter Brazil (RB) is a television news that is part of the programming of the TV Brasil.8 It is currently displayed in two editions per day from Monday to Friday, in the morning, at 8 a.m. and in the evening at 9 p.m., and on Saturdays, at 9 p.m. The RB defines itself as politically and economically independent, and as committed with the interests of their audience. Its first exhibition took place on December 2, 2007, having as one of its peculiarities, specifically in its nocturnal edition, the fact to be presented by three journalists concomitantly, namely, Guilherme Menezes (Distrito Federal), Luciana Barreto (Rio de Janeiro) and Ana Luísa Medici (São Paulo). The collective presentation contributes toward a greater degree of dynamism to the program.

In 2012, the news program began the production of a series of reports focusing on adolescents in conflict with the law.9 The agendas are commonly decided based on the suggestions of advisers and the audience, by e-mail, phone, or social networks. However, in the specific case of the series that deals with adolescents, the motivation arose in “Rights Seminar on the Agenda: the Press, the Social Agenda and Adolescents in conflict with the Law”, conducted by the Brazilian News Agency for Children’s Rights (Agência de Notícias dos Direitos da Infância – ANDI), on May 22-24, 2012.

On that occasion, the producers had contact with coordinators of social-educational systems of various parts of Brazil, adolescents who are fulfilling social-educational measures, judges, prosecutors, and other professionals who work with the theme. The discussions took place in the form of agenda meeting, with the participation of reporters of major newspapers and specialists in childhood and youth, and from thence, the suggestions emerged from the reports.

In the newsroom, there was the production proposal of a series of reports to the official Reporter Brazil: “The idea was to deal with the theme of the most complete possible manner to demystify some concepts of common sense, and humanize the history of adolescents”, says the producer Debora Britto. “Our intention was to make a special program about the lawbreaker adolescent without the accusation and police mode that usually distinguishes the coverage of this theme’, complemented Brito. In addition to listening to various characters in the seminary, the suggestion of the series was published in social networks to check what the internet audience would like to see in the copies. The suggestions were accepted and incorporated into the production of the reports that have, as a proposition, to show the causes of the crime among young people, the challenges of the implementation of the Law of the National System of socio-educational Care (Sistema Nacional de Atendimento Socioeducativo - Sinase),10 and the process of rehabilitation of those who have already fulfilled the social-educational measure. The series was shown from August 20-23, 2012.

To explain the guiding elements of the review process undertaken here, it is extremely important to mention that since 1993, the Brazilian News Agency for Children’s Rights (Agência de Notícias dos Direitos da Infância – ANDI), a non- for-profit, civil society organization, became a mediator between news Media and social groups who act in defense of the rights of the child and the adolescent. The ANDI is entirely dedicated to the issue of children and young people in the Media, and brings a series of proposals to ensure that the information disseminated about this social group are given as ethical as it is possible. From 2011, the Agency began to denominate ANDI – Communications and Rights, because of the expansion of its areas of activity. In addition to Children and Youth, it starts to act in the areas of Inclusion and Development and Communication Policies.

In 2012, together with the Brazilian Department of Human Rights (SDH) of the Presidency of the Republic, it published the “Adolescentes em conflito com a lei: Guia de referência para cobertura jornalística”,11 in which are arranged information concerning this topic childhood and adolescence in the Media. It is common to note, as explained in the guide, that the issue of children and adolescents in conflict with the law tends to be agenda in the news in, four situations, at least: 1) due to infractions committed by this social group; 2) the occurrence of rebellions in units of confinement and/or institutions of care; 3) from complaints received by journalists about disrespect to the rights of these young people, and, finally, 4) when the central theme are public policies that foster children and adolescents at risk.

From the drawing up of this primer, the ANDI has the intention that the coverages of issues on this particular age group are not too factual, decontextualized and full of stereotypes and myths, only focused on the facts, and on not bringing solutions to the problems in agenda, as it usually presents in traditional practice of Journalism. Thus, the Guide still, explains that

The narratives of the mass media decisively act in the construction of values and social behaviours. In this context, the use of inadequate words can reinforce prejudices or stereotypes. In the case of adolescents in conflict with the law, in which the rights that were acquired are permanently threatened by a culture of criminality, editors and reporters need to be aware of the use

of terms that contain value judgements) (ANDI, 2012, p.77 – My translation)12.

The action of the ANDI goes beyond to propose a simple adequacy in the journalistic language, but to promote a constant work of consciousness-raising about the reality in which these social actors are inserted. The ANDI recognizes, however, that the Media is a valuable tool that can stimulate this change in the public opinion, in order to address the problem of children and adolescents in conflict with the law.

The choice of the subject in question is given both by the matter addressed by the series, which has a great social relevance, and by having been conveyed in a public broadcaster, whose configuration must be held off economic interests.

The series which comprised four stories had the production of the journalist Debora Britto and report of Manuela Castro. The first news report discusses how boys and girls become involved in situations of conflict with the law (crime). The second one shows what should be done with the adolescents who commit crimes in Brazil, and the so-called “restorative measures”. The third one discusses if the units of confinement are the best way for the resocialization, or they further aggravate the problems (punishment). Finally, the fourth news report discusses about the struggle of whom retook the life after accomplishing social-educational measures and the difficulties of social reintegration (recovery).

To undertake the analysis, we relied on the categories defined by the ANDI Primer, as necessary elements in the construction of a coverage of quality. The first category is referring to the choice of sources. According to the text of the Agency, the ideal one is that there is a balance, which joins the precept in the documents and active statements of different social actors (p.69). The table (1) below shows the use of sources in the series:

Table 1 Choice of the Sources 

Fontes Copy 1 Copy 2 Copy 3 Copy 4 Total
Official 1 3 4 1 9
Specialist 2 2 2 0 6
Children and Adolescent 6 1 4 3 14
Relative 0 0 0 1 1
Documents/ official data 2 4 0 0 6

One perceives that the guidance provided by the ANDI in its primer is adopted in the series of news report, conceiving that there is a balance in the choice of the information sources. It also highlights that the opposites are not heard to be faced, but to give the topic in question a deeper coverage. Each life story presented shows that the involvement with the universe of drugs (the focus of the program 1) was the first step for a more serious infraction. In most cases, this involvement was generated by external motivation, such as unfavourable economic situation or family violence. Interviewee 2 (E2)13, for example, was abandoned by her mother, and saw the father being arrested. She was grown by the alcoholic grandfather. After becoming involved with the drug dealing, she is in a centre of confinement due to murder attempt. According to the adolescent:

E2: The situation was very difficult because my grandfather and my grandmother never had a permanent job, and we go through very difficult things in life. I was too child, I had this mind... I knew nothing (My translation)14.

Rachel Willadino, representative of the Observatory of Slums and one of the interviewees of the series, accounts that:

When we asked why they entered the network of the trafficking, the main elements found were the economic motivation, the need to contribute in some way to the family context, with the family economy, and the difficulty of access to a job that they consider worthy15 (My translation)16.

Concerning legal representatives who are interviewed, such as psychologists of confinement units, judges of the childhood and members of the Public Ministry, we think that they are not heard to be confronted, or to point a guilty. Nevertheless, their positions help to give a better understanding of the motivation of children and adolescents that expose themselves the situation of conflict with the law.

The second category that we will analyse in this work is the use of terms related to children and adolescents and the situation of risk they are. We use the terms considered as “adequate” or “inadequate” by the Primer of the ANDI, and evaluate its occurrence in the series, as it is shown below (Table 2). We stress that the journalistic discourse, expressed in the text of the reporter, was just analysed, without taking into account the position and choice of terms by the sources:

Table 2 Words and expressions used in journalistic text to refer to children and adolescents in conflict with the law 

Words Copy 1 Copy 2 Copy 3 Copy 4 Total
Children and adolescents; Boys and girls; Youths. 7 14 2 5 28
Minor 0 0 0 0 0
Adolescents in conflict with the law 1 0 1 0 2
Delinquent 0 0 0 0 0
Crime 1 3 0 1 5
Punição 0 1 0 1 2
Infringement; Delict; Illicit activities 1 2 0 0 3
Penalty 0 2 0 0 2
Socialeducational measure or corresponding terms 0 7 0 0 7
Reintegration/ Re-socialization 0 0 0 2 2

As the third and final category of analysis, we evaluated how the image of adolescents appears in the series. This is an important fact since not revealing the identity of the author of the infraction prevents this representation to be fixed in the popular imagination, and also preserves the identity of relatives and close friends. The ANDI advises one to use the common sense and creativity to show the image of those people. The voice was also taken into account, since it is also an element of identification of the individual (as in the example of the image 3).

Picture 2 Image of adolescent in partial shadow 

Below, the table 3 shows the treatment given by the Reporter Brasil program to the image of the sources:

Table 3 Treatment of the image of children and adolescents in conflict with the law in the series of reports 

Image and Voice Copy 1 Copy 2 Copy 3 Copy 4 Total
Use of black stripe 0 0 0 0 0
Distortion of voice 3 4 7 3 17
“Natural” voice 1 0 0 1 2
Children and adolescents on the back 2 4 3 2 11
Partial shadow, blurred, or distorted image 1 0 3 2 6
Exposure of part of the face, or body 3 2 1 0 6

From the analysis of the collected data, it was possible to realize that there is a concern with the preservation of the image of the children and adolescents who are interposed as “characters” along the program, either through the positions which arise before the journalist or through the terms that are applied to them. However, this factor should not be seen as a differentiator one of this program in particular, but as a fulfilment of the duty of the Media to maintain this image, both by not having reached the age of majority, as well as by the situation of vulnerability in which they are.

An important aspect is that the social actors are not in a position of victimization. One can infer that there is no tendency to show them as incapable, victims of the socioeconomic situation. In the interviews, all are aware of that they have broken the law and the importance of performing the social-educational measures.

In short, from the analysis, we noticed that the tone of denunciation does not prevail, and the image that is fixed in our social collection of knowledge, which these children represent a social risk and should be ruled out of the conviviality of “citizens of good”, it is not transmitted. It makes clear the concern (which should also be awakened in society as a whole – and, thus, we see the Journalism performing its role) about the reality in which these children and adolescents are.

Final considerations

We know that a news report from an individual Media vehicle is not sufficient to give a real dimension of how children and adolescents in conflict with the law are represented on TV. However, given the nature of this academic work, we decided to rely on this small cutting that gives us an interesting insight into the topic.

The situation of children and adolescents, who are in conflict with the law, when portrayed by main Media in an improper manner, can generate on them an image of third-class and disreputable people. Nevertheless, this view can be changed. As Berger and Luckman (2010, p.82) assert, “Although the routines, once established, carry within them a tendency to persist, the possibility of changing them or even abolishing them remains at hand in consciousness”.

The analysis undertaken in this study reveals that there is a balance among the sources of information. They are placed to give cohesion to the story, and not just to listen to both sides, as in many manuals on Journalism. On the terms chosen to refer to the social actors, what is observed is the journalistic text in accordance with the instructions regarding the use of appropriate terms. In the adoption of the terms, there is a care to preserve the moral integrity of the social actors. With the choice of terms such as “boys and girls” instead of “minors”; or when one asserts that these people are in a situation of conflict with the law; or that they have committed infractions instead of “street boys” or “marginal guys”, we noticed a no-abused language, that does not condemn, nor victimizes the social actors. It should be noted that the proposal is not just a simple change in vocabulary or in the form of approaching the subject, but also a change in the way of seeing the social problem. Moreover, the denial of labels can be an important step to begin.

So one notes that there was the care in preserving the image and identity of children and adolescents (what is not a virtue of the Media, but an obligation of mass Media).

Although the cases of involvement of adolescents with illicit acts are commonly an element of exploitation to the tabloid Journalism, or they further are regarded with total detachment by the mass Media, the main conclusion that we can highlight with the accomplishment of this work is that it is possible to make a differentiated coverage of this subject, which goes beyond the approach to a problem. However, it has to be also focused on the solution of a problem that affects the whole of society.

1“Meu nome era adolescente, menor infrator, pingente, embalado pra presente, pra rádio, TV, jornal, vendado ninguém me via, malabares com farinha, aquém da vida real” (Malabares com Farinha – Paulo Monarco e Sandro Dornelles).

2“As representações, ao construírem uma organização do real através de imagens mentais transpostas em discurso ou em outras manifestações comportamentais dos indivíduos que vivem em sociedade, estão incluídas no real, ou mesmo dadas como se fossem o próprio real. Elas se baseiam na observação empírica das trocas sociais e fabricam um discurso de justificativa dessas trocas, produzindo um sistema de valores que se erige em norma de referência. Assim, é elaborada uma certa categorização social do real, a qual revela não só a relação de ‘desejabilidade’ que o grupo entretém com sua experiência do cotidiano, como também o tipo de comentário de inteligibilidade do real que o caracteriza – uma espécie de metadiscurso revelador de seu posicionamento” (CHARAUDEAU, 2012, p.47).

3“Pre(dic)ar é admitir a existência de relações: atribuir o ser à coisa; dizer de suas qualidades reais ou fictícias; de seus movimentos; de seus liames com as outras coisas; referir o curso da experiência. Predicar é exercer a possibilidade de ter um ponto de vista” (ALFREDO BOSI, 1977, p.33).

4It is my translation: “Segundo o contexto no qual aparece, uma informação pode produzir um efeito de banalização, de saturação, de amálgama ou, ao contrário, de dramatização” (CHARAUDEAU, 2012, p.59).

5Available in: Access in: 07/29/2013.

6Brazilian informal term used to druggy.

7“Imagens e noções circulam assim de maneira mais rápida e maciça do que nunca, graças a suportes (jornais, telecomunicações, cartazes, painéis, telas de todos os tipos) acessíveis por toda parte, mesmo se, obviamente, com graus de penetração diversos. Desse modo, difundida ao infinito, uma imagem extremamente simplificada e rasa do mundo tende a substituir a experiência pessoal e social das realidades dos outros” (AGIER, 2001, p.18-19).

9Information obtained through the exchange of e-mails between the producer and the author of the paper and the producer Debora Britto on July 13, 2012.

10Law 12,594, sanctioned on January 18, 2012 by the Presidency of the Republic. This law is going to entail changes in the form of operation system, dedicated to adolescents from 12 to 18 years old in conflict with the law.

12“As narrativas dos meios de comunicação de massa atuam de forma decisiva na construção de valores e comportamentos sociais. Nesse contexto, o emprego de palavras inadequadas pode reforçar preconceitos ou estereótipos. No caso dos adolescentes em conflito com a lei, em que os direitos conquistados estão permanentemente ameaçados por uma cultura de criminalização, editores e repórteres precisam estar atentos ao emprego de termos que contenham juízos de valor” (ANDI, 2012, p.77).

13We have chosen in giving the interviewees this nomenclature in accordance with the order in which they appear in the story.

14“E2: A situação foi muito difícil porque meu avô e minha avó nunca tiveram um emprego fixo e a gente passa por coisas muito difíceis na vida. Eu era muito criança, tinha uma mente assim... não sabia de nada”.

15Information was extracted from the first story of the series, displayed on August 20, 2012.

16“Quando a gente perguntava por que eles entravam na rede do tráfico os principais elementos encontrados eram a motivação econômica, a necessidade de contribuir de alguma forma com o contexto familiar, com a economia familiar, e a dificuldade de acesso a um emprego que eles considerassem digno”.


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Received: February 19, 2014; Accepted: December 05, 2014

Marcus Antônio Assis Lima

PhD in Linguistics Studies from the Brazilian Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG). Master’s Degree in Communication and Sociability. Head, Professor of Graduate in Communication/Journalism and the Postgraduate Program in Portuguese: Culture, Education and Languages from State University of Bahia Southwest (UESB) and Coordinator of the Centre for Research in Journalism (NPJOR/UESB). Visiting Researcher at Goldsmiths College/University of London (Scholar from CAPES/ 2013). Email: malima@

Flávia Moreira Mota e Mota

Master’s Degree in Letters: Culture, Education and Languages by State University of Bahia Southwest (UESB). Auxiliary Professor of the Social Communication Course with qualification in Journalism, linked to the Department of Philosophy and Human Sciences at the State University of Bahia Southwest (UESB). Scholarship from the Research Support Foundation of the State University of Bahia Southwest (UESB). Graduated in Social Communication/Journalism and Specialist in History: Politics, Culture and Society (UESB). Member of the Centre for Research in Journalism (NPJOR/ UESB). Email:

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