Here are two recent news items that prove France is five million times classier than the U.S.A.:

  • The French consume almost 60 litres (that's 15.9 gallons) of wine per person each year — more than any other country in the world. Not like those boorish Americans, who consume just a bit over 10 litres of wine each per year and 50 billion pints of un-classy beer collectively.
  • The French government is bestowing the gift of a newspaper subscription on all French citizens when they turn 18. Sarkozy says it is the French government's responsibility "to make sure an independent, free and pluralistic press exists." (Which is why he's making it dependent on government help? Hmm.)

The last is what I really want to talk about. I'm wondering if this would actually work: Would people read print publications if they were literally dropped in their laps? On the one hand, young people don't subscribe to print magazines because they can get information online for free. They might read a print publication but after the subscription runs out, I think they'll go back to Internet.

On the other hand, I like print over Internet reading. I love that it makes me read methodically — turning one page and then another until I've read something from beginning to end without stopping to click with ADD-abandon on something more interesting.

This makes me think that France's plan to save the print (if not the "independent, free and pluralistic") press might work.

 

 
About The Author

Alisa Harris

0 Responses to France gifts dying newspapers

  1. Timothy says:

    I’d read more news if you dropped it on my doorstep. So, yeah, in some sense it might work.

  2. David says:

    Reading online is inferior to print, no doubt. It’s hard on the eyes and the soul, and I suspect there will eventually be an appropriate backlash. Not sure what that says for my magazine, but oh well.

  3. Alisa says:

    Maybe we could become a print magazine!

  4. Alissa says:

    Print rocks, which I too say as editor of an online magazine. Two online magazines, I guess. In any case, I heart the French.

  5. Tim says:

    I seriously hate reading real ‘news’ online. For some reason Pitchfork, Patrol, etc. all somehow feel different. Maybe it’s purely psychological but yeah . . . there’s a difference.

    Maybe only because we COULD be reading the other stuff in print.

  6. Matt Bunk says:

    I love reading news in physical print. There is something about about the tactile feel and smell of paper that makes it more legitimate.

    Unfortunately if they did give subscriptions to everyone, most Americans would complain about whose paying for those subscriptions. They would assume it was from taxes and not ad revenue.

    I think Rolling Stone did this a while back, when they caught some heat for inflating their circulation numbers. They just gave out subscriptions, so their advertisers wouldn’t sue them.

  7. Ian says:

    I would argue that as long as there are aesthetes, there will always be print- the French government probably doesn’t need to save it. As much as I disdain those who choose to read articles online rather than in print, I couldn’t ever go so far as to have government provide it for everyone. Not to argue this too much from the standpoint of free-market, but if people want something they are going to find a way to get it. (i.e. the black market) Simply providing a service for people won’t make them respect what they are getting, or make it more important to them because they get it for free the first few times.
    On a lighter note, I think an article should be written on how to bring about a more classy drinking environment. We are severely behind on wine consumption.

  8. Ian says:

    Seems you’re not alone in your queries. http://www.nybooks.com/articles/22281

  9. This proves that the way to save print media is to drink lots more wine.

Leave a Reply

Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.