Jayakrishnan VU

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Canard editor, Frederic Pages speaking at the Alliance Francaise
Photo Credit: Jayakrishnan VU

Investigative stories sell: Frederic Pages

Journalists need to keep themselves aloof from politicians or else face the risk of losing credibility cautioned the acclaimed author and French journalist Frederic Pages. Addressing a conference on the famous satirical French weekly Le Canard Enchaine, at Alliance Francaise  on  January 13,  he added that, by familiarizing  with the reporters , the  French President  Nicolas Sarkozy   tried  to  influence them. Narrating his 25 year old journalistic career, Pages urged journalists to acquire knowledge on arts, language and politics to build a successful career.

Newspapers need to reach out to new audiences by making changes in outlook and design. He described how Canard, by putting more cartoons was able to woo the young generation, even though it still retained its old-fashioned design. Saying that a good carton is better than a long page, he said, newspapers need to re-invent themselves to reach out to diverse communities including minorities.

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Pages explaining layout of Canard newspaper to the enthusiastic crowd
Photo Credit: Jayakrishnan VU

Talking about the editorial preference of  his newspaper, he said, investigative stories have made the newspaper profitable. People’s enthusiasm for more investigative stories in Canard helped it reach amazing circulation of four lakh copies in a week. He stated that,  pro-people attitude has  made  the  weekly  popular in France, and it  would continue  its  tradition of  being an anti establishment stand  that  it had  retained since World War II,  when it  used  to  keep  its  inner  pages  blank,  and put  obituaries  on the front  pages  to tell  its  readers  about  the e enormous  human sacrifices  in the  war, libel laws are strong in France and the reporter has  to  justify to the judge  every word. But it has not deterred the French press from exploring private  lives of  the famous  personalities; as French keep no difference when it comes to their private and  public lives. The popularity of his  spoofs on the lives of eminent philosophers, published in Canard; The Sex Life of Emmanuel Kant and Nietzsche, or The Midday Demon  revealed this fact, he affirmed.

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