Katia Brembatti, the unremitting
Katia Brembatti, a reporter for Gazeta do Povo, is married to Regis Rieger, TV presenter for the RPC (Rede Paranaense de Comunicaçao) of Ponta Grossa, and mother of two children. Graduated in Journalism by UEPG, where she is currently attending a Masters in Applied Social Sciences, is passionate about political coverage to the point of never refusing an assignment, even if it meant countless trips from and to Ponta Grossa and Curitiba, BR-277 and BR-376 , and with it, great family sacrifices.
The journalist joined the RPC in 2004, covering holidays at the branch of the newspaper. She was effected in 2005 and, despite making articles for various editorials, has always been more attuned to political issues.
Katia worked with Karlos Kolbach on the coverage of the “grasshopper scheme” where she discovered that between employees were the day laborers of Palmeira, a city in Southern Parana. Based on this information, Katia went to the Public Library of Parana in Curitiba, to search the Official Records of the State for the notice of the appointment of these servers. “What struck me is that there was no information in the Records about the Assembly,” she says.
The next step was to seek the information in the Assembly’s library itself, where she met with empty shelves. After two days in search of information, the reporter learned that the RPC TV producer James Alberti had copies of the records. It was when she and Karlos joined with RPC TV producers, who were already working on the subject.
The journalist notes that the intention of this work was to inform the public about what was happening in the Assembly and making public the information on servers in the House. “I just had grasp the scale of work we did on the day of the awards, when I realized that our material was competing with stories of national significance. And we won”, she celebrates.
James Alberti, the seeker
Restless and with a keen investigative instinct, James Alberti opened the investigation of the Secret Diaries. He came from Jardinópolis, Santa Catarina, graduated in Journalism from Univali (University of Itajai Valley) and post-graduated in Audiovisual at PUC-PR and began his career at RPC TV in 2000 as a producer of the Fantastico TV show.
James said he did not expect the impact that the work had.”When we started we had no perception that we would win prizes.Our goals were modest”, he recalls. “Having this recognition is extraordinary for us, for RPC and the society that was angry and took to the streets to protest and demand transparency. We must also thank and acknowledge the importance of the whole team. This victory is collective”, he pointed out.
James says that the conception of the Secret Diaries occurred naturally. “In 2008, we produced a story about ghost workers.During the making of this report, a source informed us about the existence of secret diaries in the Assembly and also about where they were. With the help of three trainees in the RPC we had access to Official Records from 1998 to 2009, they were hidden”, says James.
With all the diaries at hand, they built a database with more than 100,000 lines of information. In 2009, when the Legislature unveiled the list of officials for the first time in the history of Paraná, labor increased and James came to rely on the help of journalist Gabriel Tabatcheik to assist in investigations. At the same time, journalists Katia Brembatti and Karlos Kohlbach from Gazeta do Povo, which also investigated the Assembly, joined them.
“It was months and months of checking data sources, capturing images in micro-cameras, producing reports, sleepless nights, until airing the Secret Diaries series,” recalls James.
Gabriel Tabatcheik, the young prodigy
He majored in journalism at Positivo University in 2004 and participated in the trainee program offered by the RPC TV in 2005. After wandering around South America and Europe working on an ocean liner, Gabriel returned to Curitiba in 2008 and was hired by the RPC as a TV reporter. The following year he met the journalist James Alberti and went on to assist in gathering information on the official journals of the Assembly.
“There was no clarity about how everything could be turned into news report. It was the moment that I made some suggestions of how that material could be worked into a database, which would allow cross-referencing the information giving us the opportunity to understand the logic of the internal workings of the Assembly”, he reveals.
“As we understood what we had in hand, the team, managers, staff involved in the Gazeta do Povo and the RPC TV realized that there was a chance to unravel and explain how the whole scheme had operated for so long” he reveals.
Gabriel says investment in the story was a big bet of the supervisors. “Therefore, we dedicate this award to our bosses, colleagues reporters and photographers, cameramen, assistants and dozens of partners who helped us directly”. The young reporter is pleased to have been able to demonstrate their potential working on a project of such magnitude at the beginning of his career. “I have almost an obligation to develop other stories of weight to honor this story and be consistent with the awards I have just received”.
Karlos Kohlbach, the strategist
Karlos Kohlbach, from Rio de Janeiro, began his career in the Gazeta do Povo in 2003 as a trainee of the defunct portal Tudo Parana, now Gazeta do Povo Online. A journalism graduate from the Tuiuti University and a graduate degree in Political Science from the Federal University of Parana in 2007, the journalist was invited to join the team of Politics of the printed newspaper, where he made features relating to the Legislative Assembly of Parana. “We always face difficulties in gaining access to information of the Legislature,” he recalls.
In 2008, he worked in the coverage of federal police investigation known as “grasshopper scheme”, a case also related to the embezzlement at the Assembly. “We can say that the scheme was version 1.0 of the Secret Diaries” he says. He says that when joining (he and Katia Brembratti) James and Gabriel, in 2009, they had no idea where the investigation into the Assembly would lead. “It began modestly, valuing what is greatest in journalism, the doubt,” he says.
Karlos highlights the experience of working in tandem between two media – newspaper and television – which have completely different characteristics and he states that understanding the needs of each one was crucial to the success of this work. “On TV we prioritize the images and in the newspaper documents, since we had more space to detailing the information aired on the evening news,” he explains.
For Karlos the winning of two major awards are the culmination of a job well done, which had a brilliant response from society. “Being able to touch hearts and minds of Parana’s population is as good as the prize,” said the journalist.