Official Blog of the Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

LACIS Holofote: Ryan Rainey, Brazil & the Huffington Post

LACIS recently sat down for an interview with Ryan Rainey, recent graduate and subject of this installment of ‘LACIS Holofote,’ to talk about his experience with the major, his upcoming internship in Washington, D.C. and his international plans for the future.

Some readers on campus may very well recognize Ryan Rainey’s name given that it is likely you have already seen it in print within the last few years. During Ryan’s junior and senior year respectively, he acted as The Badger Herald’s Managing Editor and Editor-in-chief and was responsible for managing the paper’s 30 paid employees. As Editor-in-chief, he led the redevelopment of the daily’s online and print publication models and wrote weekly columns and editorials, ranging from topics as diverse as hard-hitting political pieces to an epitaph on the Mifflin Street Block Party. Ryan’s extensive journalistic experience made him a standout candidate for a paid summer internship with the Huffington Post politics section.

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          Ryan on the press riser during President Obama’s Bascom Hill address

Ryan graduated this May (2013) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and LACIS. Speaking to the advantages of the latter program, Ryan noted, “LACIS gave me the flexibility to learn Portuguese and Latin American History at the same time,” adding, “I formed my own discipline out of it. I felt like I was a Brazilian studies major.” Ryan also spoke positively of the academic overlap between the LACIS and Journalism majors. He specifically mentioned the course Mass Media in Developing Nations, taught by Professor Jo Ellen Fair, as figuring among his favorite courses. Ryan wrote his final paper on the dominant Brazilian media conglomerate Globo during Brazil’s military dictatorship.

In 2012, Ryan’s academic and personal fascination with Brazil took him on a five-week-long study abroad program through the Fundação Armando Álvares Penteado. Ryan lived with a host family in the center of São Paulo, Brazil’s business capital and South America’s largest metropolis, and also visited Brazil’s cultural and ex-capital Rio de Janeiro. Through connections with host family members, Ryan was introduced to the internationally-known soccer manager and current manager of Brazil’s national team Felipão, also known as Luiz Felipe Scolari or ‘Big Phil.’ Ryan briefly chatted with the towering Scolari and toured the training facility for Palmeiras: one of Brazil’s most successful clubs which boasts strong ties with the Italian-Brazilian community residing in greater São Paulo.

The invaluable experience Ryan gained from speaking Brazilian Portuguese during his time spent studying in São Paulo helped to prepare him for his favorite reporting assignment to date: covering the 2012 election of Tammy Baldwin—the first openly gay person elected as Senator of the United States—for G1, the largest news website in Brazil. While Ryan described his selection as “a shot in the dark” for G1, the publication of his three articles suggest it was a success for all parties involved. Ryan admitted “it was cool to be able to see history in the making but to cover it professionally as a journalist,” and in the language he had been studying for multiple semesters, made the experience all the sweeter.

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Ryan on Corcovado Mountain during a visit to Rio de Janeiro’s famous Cristo Redentor (Christ Redeemer) statue

Links to Ryan’s three Election Day 2012 articles on G1:

Come June (2013), Ryan will head to the east coast to intern for the politics section at The Huffington Post. He expects his main duties will include researching for staff reporters, attending press conferences, gathering news outside the office and writing his own “clips.” Ryan hopes to use the journalism experience he gains at HuffPo—a company with a budding international presence, with Japanese, Canadian, Spanish, French, German and British versions of its site—as a stepping stone to more international reporting from and about Brazil in the future. Ryan hopes to visit Brazil in a professional capacity for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Rio Olympics.

LACIS would like to thank Ryan Rainey for granting us this interview and we wish him muita sorte this summer in D.C.! We hope to continue reading your name in print in the future.