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This article repositions Mário de Andrade’s ethnographic journals of his two trips within a larger cultural context by shifting the focus from an established text to the process through which two media, the archive and the newspaper, shaped their content and differences. I argue that reading the first journal through Mário’s editing of the manuscript exposes a mocking and experimental approach to ethnographic practices. It also exposes his careful attention to the creation of archives and collections as a way to create cultural memory in Brazil. The journal of his second trip is aligned with the political and cultural agenda of the Diário Nacional and O Partido Democrático, in which ethnography is practiced in a less experimental way and aims to assert a collective voice.