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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Le prix de l’alternative médiatique

by Editorial

The Price of the Alternative Media

Translated by Ann Drummond

Translated Tuesday 31 January 2006, by Ann Drummond

A brand new Humanité-on-Sunday will appear on 9 March - launching the much-needed magazine of the left.

The Price of the Alternative Media.

At a time when the daily press is seeing a drop in sales, the circulation of l’Humanité has increased significantly in 2005. It has gone from 48,740 copies a day in 2004 to 51,527 in 2005. This is an increase of 5.72%.

A new feature is the improvement in sales in newspaper outlets, which will parallel the rise in subscriptions from now on. Last year, the increased sales of l’Humanité reflected large-scale editorial projects on political issues. The only paper to commit itself to voting "No" on the hot topic of the European Constitution, this certainly stimulated on a daily basis a lively debate on its content over the following eight months.

A special initiative to reach out to thousands of young people was a priority for the newspaper, as well as providing them with a ’free exchange’ space every Thursday. As of 21 November 2005, the paper has undergone a fundamental overhaul to make it clearer, more incisive and even more politically committed.

In all, 2,963 readers, male and female, have taken out a "sponsorship subscription" for someone close to them.

This all represents a huge effort by the whole community which makes up l’Humanité - the team putting together the newspaper, readers of both sexes, distributors and friends. This is now beginning to pay off. We would like to express our thanks to them all. Without this community, l’Humanité would have no future.

We have to keep up this effort. L’Humanité is a daily struggle. In fact, the serious financial crisis the paper finds itself in is a continued threat to its existence. As we continue to fight for the State to truly guarantee press pluralism, we are facing up to this crisis with three major development projects:

- continuing to improve the content of the weekday Humanité to expand the readership circle.

- going back to a Saturday edition of l’Humanité, which will act as a forum for discussion as well as dealing with news items. It will devote more space to in-depth analysis, platforms for free debate, sections for ideas, organizing forums, and to a detailed examination of economic and international issues. All this will make the Saturday edition a brand new forum of expression for the whole community and trade union movement, and for progressive individuals and forces. We also plan to launch new features on special events such as the anniversary of the Popular Front and the Avignon Festival.

- finally, as we have already announced, re-launching a new Humanité on Sunday on 9 March, thus creating the magazine of the Left which is badly needed today. It will be firmly rooted in social issues and the development of solidarity on various fronts. It will have a ongoing goal of being the newspaper for women, young people, and the workforce in all its diversity. It will present an in-depth analysis of the week’s news. At the same time, it will be a magazine covering other services, characterized by its fresh approach to radio and television news, leisure, culture, sport and history.

In its style and content, in its own-brand coverage of current affairs, and in its prominent use of photographs, the new Humanité on Sunday will capture the interest of a large number of new readers, men and women alike. In addition, because of its publication on a Thursday, it will be available for longer on newsstands and subscribers will be sure of receiving their copy by Saturday.

This is also a capital project in the sense that the new Humanité on Sunday will allow us to boost our circulation radically in local areas and workplaces as early as Thursday.

Launching such a project is expensive, very expensive. We have to raise at least 2 million euros. This is the price of freedom in the face of right-wing bombardment.

We therefore call on all those men and women who want to break down the wall of neo-liberal dominant ideology to become co-founders of this project by buying shares in the magazine. At the same time, we are lobbying the authorities to ensure that in the coming year, Parliament will legislate on granting tax relief to any individual with a financial share in a newspaper.

In the space of a few days, a thousand men and women have already registered as co-founders of the new Humanité on Sunday. They have bought over 15,000 shares at a total value of over 150,000 euros.

Investing in this project is an act of protest against capitalism and a step towards the creation of a different society. It is a contribution to the victory of pluralism. It is an investment in active citizenship and a rejuvenated democracy. It is a way of re-establishing facts and allowing access to information which is both unbiased and alterative.

The campaign to co-found Humanité on Sunday must now widen out even further.

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