Hermano Neves

Introducer of the in-depth report in the national press, he is considered by many as the father of modern Journalism in the country. Hermano Neves was the first Portuguese special envoy to cover a war

In 1914, the newspaper A Capital took the historical decision of sending a special reporter to France, with the mission of covering the First World War from the battlefront.

«Hermano Neves will give us the Portuguese vision of war; will give movement and life to its facts, making them familiar in all aspects. His aspirations are ours. Are of the entire country. They are of our people’s soul».

The young reporter arrived in Bordeaux on the 6th of September, but little was going on in the city.

Prevented by authorities of reaching the French capital, he had to settle with second-hand information, reported in his daily chronicles.

After almost two months without being able to get near the battlefront, the special envoy returned to Lisbon.

From Medicine to Journalism

Hermano Neves’ journalistic career had started about a decade before, in Berlin.

The reporter – born in Alvares, on December 12th of 1884 – had left to Germany to study Medicine, attracted by cosmopolitanism and by the quality of the culture and education of the country.

From the Germanic capital, Hermano Neves collaborated with Diário de Notícias.

Already graduated, he returned to Portugal, to become Anatomy Assistant in Lisbon’s Medical School.

The typing machine ended up on imposing to the stethoscope. Hermano Neves integrated the news rooms of several newspapers, including O Dia, O Século and O Mundo.

Journalism in the time of the Republic

In 1910, the country changed.

The reporter followed closely the events of October 4th and 5th, which ended culminated in the implementation of the republican regime.

His journalistic coverage gave origin to the work Como triumphou a República, published shortly after the revolution.

But his journalistic consecration would come to be conquered in the newsroom of A Capital.

In the modern newspaper, with republican characteristics, Hermano Neves matured as a journalist and became one of the most dynamic and requested reporters of the publication.

He was pioneer in the development of the modern report genre, including works about monarchical incursions, during which he was even mistaken for a spy.

The experience was portrayed in the book Guerra Civil.

On April 29th of 1915, published the first number of the republican pamphlet Fora da Lei, in collaboration with Herculano Nuno, also a journalist.

«We understand that in this serious moment of the national life it is indispensable to speak bluntly and without hesitations all we consider to be true».

The duo of journalists also founded, already in end of the decade, the newspaper Vitória –title that refers to the victory of the Allies and of the Republicans – a publication that Neves transformed into a school of journalism.

The reporter also punctually collaborated with other media, such as Atlântida magazine.

Holder of a vast literary and humanistic culture, he also worked as translator of several theater plays.

The war in the press

After his experience in France, which made him the first Portuguese reporter sent exclusively to cover a conflict, he wrote again about the First World War.

Closely followed the preparation of the Portuguese troops, in Tanco, before the departure to the battlefront.

Three years after the initial trip, he returned to France to accompany the visit of the president Bernardino Machado, at the service of A Capital and Diário de Notícias.

"The Portuguese sector has been remained defensive […] we remain there, for now, with this simple goal: to not let the Germans pass."

Thus, Hermano Neves saw himself on the opposite side of the Germanic nation, the country where he had lived and studied, reporting from the Portuguese battlefront.

During his journalistic activity, he travelled in Europe, Brazil and Africa – where he got sick and was saved by traditional remedies – and reported from the former Portuguese colonies.

For months we crossed hostile regions, making himself weather observations and sending reports narrating his adventures.

Pioneer work

Fearless and eager for new experiences, he was the first Portuguese journalist to board a submarine and to fly in a small airplane and in a hot air balloon.

He also travelled in national territory, publishing the book Três Dias em Olivença.

Connoisseur of the overseas matters, Hermano Neves accompanied the general Norton de Matos in his departure to Angola, where the latter assumed functions as High-Commissary.

After his return, he remained active in the clandestine press, manifesting against the dictatorship implanted in 1926.

He would not see his political dream to be fulfilled. He passed in Lisbon, on March 2nd of 1929.

A firm republican (Masonic or not, report diverge), the doctor that became a war correspondent found in journalism his true calling.

His contribution for the profession was analyzed by Norberto Lopes in the work Hermano Neves: a Grande Reportagem.

His son, Mário Neves, inherited from his father the passion for journalism.

He was a writer in the newspapers O Século and Diário de Lisboa, as well as co-founder of A Capital.

Considered the father of modern journalism, Hermano Neves was immortalized as one of the most famous reporters of his time, standing out in critic, comment, and chronicle and, especially, as introducer of the big report in the Portuguese press.