Atlas da Notícia (News Atlas) is a pioneering project aimed at mapping the local and regional press in Brazil amidst the digital revolution. It is carried on through a partnership between Projor – Instituto para o Desenvolvimento do Jornalismo and Volt Data Lab.

Atlas is focused on identifying local outlets covering civic local subjects, such as public spending, local law making process, health, education, security, mobility and the environment. It has also been planned into incremental phases.

Completed and published in November 2017, the first phase identified 5,354 news outlets (both print and digital) in 1,125 of a total of Brazilian 5,570 municipalities. Conversely, Atlas revealed the existence of so-called “news deserts” in 4,500 municipalities, home to 70 million people, some 35% of Brazilian population.

The first phase has also delivered an open database and a report including a series of analytical texts, maps and charts published by Observatório da Imprensa, Projor’s media watchdog website.

Atlas da Notícia is inspired by the America’s Growing Deserts of News project, developed by the Columbia Journalism Review to map local newspapers in the United States.

The second phase aims to improve Atlas' interactive platform and database and also to develop deeper on-site analytical research in a sample of “news deserts."

To have full access to the current data featuring print and online media organizations, click on the links bellow.


Complete Data on Github Aggregate data on Google Sheets (English)
Note: All raw data within Github is in Portuguese-only for now.

Key Figures

  • Total mapped media organizations: 5,354
    • Print newspapers: 3,379 (63%)
    • Online news: 1,984 (37%)
  • Cities at least print or online news outlet: 1,125
    • They represent around 65% of Brazil's population (130 million people)
    • Average Human Development Index of cities mapped: 0,727
    • Average national Human Development Index: 0,659

Key Findings

  • Newspapers and online news were mapped in 1,125 cities, which means that in over 4,500, representing over 70 million people, it was not possible to identify such local news outlets.
  • The so called "news deserts" account for some 35% of Brazil's population
  • 416 cities, representing more than 15 million people, had only one newspaper or local news website

Major cities disparities

  • Brazil's three main cities (Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and the capital Brasilia) account for 1,112 mapped newspapers or websites, representing 20.7% of the total, although they have only some 10% of the national population.
  • State capitals ranked in the 11 first spots in the ranking in number of mapped newspapers and news websites.

News density

  • The Southern city of Florianopilies ranked first in the number of newspapers or news websites per citizens in municipalities above 100,000 people, with 16.7 media outlets by a group of that many people.
  • Ther Northern city of Fortaleza was the worse, with just 0,87 media outlets per 100,000 people.



The team


Angela Pimenta – President of Projor since July 2015, holds a Master’s in Journalism from Columbia Journalism School (2001). She is the executive-coordinator of Projeto Credibilidade and was a senior editor for Exame magazine in Brasília (2007-2011), partner of Patri Políticas Públicas consultancy (2012-2014) and representative of the Online News Association in Brazil (2009-2014).

Adriana Garcia – Operations director at Projor since May 2017, is a journalist and digital media consultant. She holds a Master’s from the University of São Paulo (USP) and was a J.S. Knight Fellow at Stanford University (2013). Digital Comms Director for the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, she worked at Reuters, Exame, Veja SP and Folha de S.Paulo for over two decades and also created Orbital Mídia, an advocacy and discussion hub to promote digital transformation in Journalism.

Pedro Varoni – Editorial Director at Projor since May 2017, he is also the editor of Observatório da Imprensa and a professor and researcher. He holds a Phd in Linguistics from the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar). Joined EPTV and was Journalism Director at TV Sergipe. He was general director at state-owned company Empresa Brasileira de Comunicação (EBC) in 2016.

Francisco Belda – Journalist, professor at the Social Communication Department and vice-coordinator of the Graduate Program on Media and Technology at Sao Paulo State University (Unesp). He was a reporter, editor, manager, and director of news companies. He is also visiting scholar at Brandeis University, in Massachusetts, US. He earned a PhD in Production Engineering and a master’s degree in Communication Sciences from University of Sao Paulo (USP).

Sérgio Spagnuolo – Managing-editor of Volt Data Lab, has worked for several media companies, such as Reuters, Yahoo News and Mergermarket, and has been part of innovative projects, like fact-checking website Aos Fatos. Holds a bachelor degree in Journalism from Mackenzie University and a Master’s degree in International Relations from Pontifícia Universidade Católica, both in São Paulo. He is a Tow-Knight fellow for Entrepreneurial Journalism in the City University of New York (CUNY).

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