Thank you for joining me once again as we review a selection of the most widely read french newspapers. In part 1, I presented an overview of the different sections found in a typical newspaper that will help you navigate its contents. In part 2, we learned about Le Monde and Le Figaro and in part 3, we looked at Le Nouvel Observateur and Libération. Today, let’s delve into two more journaux (newspapers) that grace the racks of most newsstands in France: L’Express and l’Humanité.
Originally printed as a supplément hebdomadaire (weekly supplement) to the economic newspaper Les Échos in 1953, L’Express morphed into the first french newsmagazine by 1964. Columns written by Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus and André Malraux among others lent prestige and a certain validity to L’Express that readers had been seeking in other news outlets of the day.
The transition from supplement to full-fledged newsmagazine in 1964 brought with it some changes. Plusieurs journalistes quittent L’Express pour fonder Le Nouvel Observateur (Several journalists leave L’Express to found Le Nouvel Observateur). As a result, the magazine becomes less politically centered which leads to a tripling of its readership over the span of just three years.
In 1995, L’Express forged a new path in the emerging world of digital news when it launched la première version électronique (the first electronic version) of a weekly french newspaper. Today, lexpress.fr is one of the most frequented french news websites avec plus de deux millions de visiteurs par mois (with more than two million visitors a month).
One of the oldest french newspapers still in circulation, l’Humanité began informing readers in 1904. Ce journal quotidien (This daily paper) was founded by Jean Jaurès, a french socialist who believed in “la communion avec le mouvement ouvrier” (“agreement with the labor movement”) and for nearly seventy-five years was guided by le Parti Communiste Français (French Communist Party). Similar to L’Express, l’Humanité became a paper for intellectuals thanks to columns written by such illustrious characters as Aristide Brian, Léon Blum, et al.
Because of its communist/socialist leanings, l’Humanité’s popularity waxed and waned over the course of several decades and with the stream of world events, namely the two World Wars and the Cold War. L’Humanité supported la libération nationale à travers le monde (national liberation throughout the world), a practice that generated considerable controversy pendant les guerres d’Algérie et d’Indochine (during the wars of Algeria and Indochina).
In 1996, l’Humanité launched its website at humanite.fr containing archives of columns from its physical newspaper dating back to 1990. Visit la Boutique on the web où vous aurez accès à une sélection d’abonnements (where you will have access to a selection of subscriptions) in both digital and paper formats.
Join me next time for our final installment in this series on french newspapers. À bientôt (See you soon)!