Wednesday, October 27, 2010

France 24 in Arabic

France 24 began in 2006 as a government backed news channel. The French government pays €80 million a year to support this channel and website as a source for news from the French perspective in French English and Arabic. This month France 24 announced it's Arabic division will now run 24 hours a day. France has the largest Arabic speaking population in Europe.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Media Economies & French Advertising

by Hye Mi Joo

“Maurice Lévy: The Napoleon of advertising”

Maurice Levy at World economic forum in 2009

In this article published in The Independent, Alex Benady interviews Maurice Lévy, the chief executive of Publicis, one of the biggest french advertising agencies. With four international advertising agency networks (Publicis, Leo Burnett, Fallon, and Saatchi & Saatchi) and media buying agencies Starcom and Zenith Optimedia, Lévy is considered to be one of the most powerful players in world advertising. Publicis has been growing and expanding its territory for many years, but Lévy claims that they are not trying to be the biggest, but “just the best.”

Lévy admits that it is hard for a french company to be successful in the world of business, as the image of french culture is not particularly positive in global business community. Lévy said that “it takes a lot of energy to convince Us and British corporations that a French agency can be creative and can service them in the market.”

"I mix it, whip it and pop it in the pan" / "I tie her up, whip her, and then give her one"

Then he goes on to explain the differences in American, British, and French corporations and advertisements based on his experiences with each branch of his network. According to Lévy, British Ads are “dominated by sense of humor,” and demonstration of the product. Americans Ads are very realistic and “head on” with its “product benefit, and matter-of-fact rationalization. French Ads are more emotional than rational. Aesthetics is very important in French Ads; they have to be beautiful and sensual, and sometimes sexual. French Advertisement used to be obsessed with “porno chic” style ads, but it is a bit faded now.

Lévy talks about change in advertisement and change in the world. He argues that “we have to redefine our very notion of time,” saying that the rate of change has accelerated in past few years. Advertisement has to change according to the change of the world, but the change occurs more often these days. Lévy believes that this accelerating rate of change is true both for media and for consumer preferences. “since media are meant to represent the world, the representation of the world moves faster than the world itself. We no longer live in a time of mediation; we have entered an era of immediacy.”

Monday, October 18, 2010

Media Economies & Advertising

Reading Summaries by Sara Goodison

The Society of the Spectacle, Chapter 1: The Culmination of Separation

Guy Debord’s analytical work centers around the world of the spectacle. He believes that we are living in a world in which the spectacle has become superior to- and in essence, a replacement for- reality, creating a separation and alienation from a world that can no longer be directly grasped.

Throughout chapter 1, Debord offers many definitions for what the spectacle is. A few of the key components of what makes the spectacle include that it is “an autonomous movement of the nonliving”, “a separate pseudoworld that can only be looked at”, “a visual reflection of the ruling economic order” and “a social relation between people that is mediated by images”. The spectacle is a representation of direct life, but for Debord, it does not end there. The spectacle does not just represent life in a visual manner, but also shapes, effects, and actually supersedes reality. He believes that the spectacle engenders passive acceptance of “an inaccessible reality in which what appears is good and what is good appears”, much like the commonly used advertising heuristic of “what’s beautiful is good”.

Debord goes on to analyze both the economic production and domination of social life by the spectacle. He believes that the spectacle is the leading production of present-day society and that the spectacle’s domination of social life has created a degradation from being into having, followed by a shift from having to appearing. Human fulfillment has gone from being about what one was to what one possessed and, through the spectacle, having must “derive it’s immediate prestige and its ultimate purpose from appearance”. The spectacular society’s emphasis on the visual and on appearances, means that simply possessing something is no longer enough- instead you must have the appearance of possessing it.

Interestingly, this emphasis on appearances has led to the sense of sigh becoming the most important sense in modern culture. The sense of sigh has been elevated to the preeminence once occupied by touch. This is a problem for Debord, as he sees sight as “the most abstract and easily deceived sense” and yet it is the one that we have founded modern society upon.

Debord goes on to develop the idea of the spectacle as “whatever eludes peoples practical reconsideration and correction”. It is essentially societies collective subconscious awareness of the world. In tying his discourse into religion, he explains that the spectacle brings the “illusory paradise that represented a total denial of earthly life” down to earthly life itself. It would seem that the daily life projected by the spectacle as reality has in fact become the unreal, unattainable life much like heaven once was.

Vernacular Geopolitics and Media Economics in an Enlarged Europe

This article mainly deals with a situation involving the Italian media’s relationship with Saudi funders and distributers and extrapolates from that situation an analyze of the media in an enlarged Europe.

The articles centers its argument around a few key events. First, there was a meeting between Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Saudi Prince Al Waleed who had agreed to purchase Berlusconi’s shares in Mediaset television in order to avoid a conflict of interest. The next story was that of the extensive ties between RIA, Italy’s public broadcaster, and Dalla Al Baraka Investment Bank as part of the distribution deal between RAI and Arab Digital Distribution. Finally, there was the story of Tarak Ben Ammar who was intimately involved in both the sale of Belusconi’s Mediaset shares to Saudi Prince Al Walled as well as the negotiation of the distribution agreement between RAI and Al Baraka Investment for the distribution of RAI international.

More important than just the events themselves, however, was the way these interactions were covered in the media. Presented against the backdrop of accusations that Prince Al Waleed and Dalla Al Baraka Investment Bank had been involved in funding the World Trade Center Attacks on September 11th, the question of “should the Italian government have an agreement with interests that are under suspicion of being involved in terrorists activities” could not help but be raised, especially given that RAI was a particularly important state institution.

Hayward explains that “the interest in Prince Al Waleed, Dall AL Baraka Investment Bank and Tarak Ben Ammar is intimately related to the vernacular geopolitical knowledge that has defined many aspects of everyday life in Europe in the wake of the events of September 11”. This vernacular geopolitical knowledge involves the “less legitimate popular understandings of international politics in the post-9/11 world”- essentially, it is the prejudices, stereotypes, and misconceptions that people often bring with them to the table when faced with a new situation that is subject to interpretation. These popular understands must be balanced with the version of the story that has had all emotions removed and attempts to stick to the facts of what is actually going on- the “‘official’ mappings of corporate relations and the functioning of state institutions”.

This article not only deals with vernacular geopolitics, but also with the idea of an “enlarged Europe”. Dalla Al Baraka Investments and its subsidiaries Arab Media Corporation and Arab Digital Distribution play a crucial role in the Italian broadcasting market. In fact, the Saudi based company is the primary distributor of Italian media content internationally. This begs the question of what exactly is an “enlarged Europe”. Hayward points out that, thanks to colonialism, imperialism, and globalization, “Europe more than many other places on the planet has always been enlarged”. However, as made apparent with the Arab world’s involvement in Italian media, enlargement can no longer be understood in a strictly geographical nature. Thus, Hayward concludes, “an ‘enlarged Europe’ is one that can no longer be said to be limited by the geographical boundaries of the continent itself”.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Monday, October 11, 2010

French Political Media & Scandal

by Paulina Afshani

The Political Context of Media Systems (Hallin and Mancini, 125-145)

The relation between state and society in Europe is highly characterized by the welfare-state democracy because of the high degree of active state intervention. The media it is often used by the state to achieve political pluralism and/or to maintain national language and culture. This contrasts with the US model of a liberal democracy, in which there is a restricted role of state. Advertising is not very central to European business because of the tendency towards national, as opposed to continental cultural homogeneity. This means “weaker motivations to standardize collective customs through communication… which results in much lower advertising revenues” (Hallin and Mancini, p. 48). The high degree of interrelation between state and media is especially prevalent where capital is concentrated in Europe.

Within Europe, there is a large contrast between majoritarian governments (in Britain, Spain, Portugal, Greece) and consensus governments (in Italy and Central Europe). The majoritarian model is a two-party, winner-take-all system, which means the parties compete for the right to represent the nation as a whole. The press usually has internal pluralism. In contrast, a consensus government is one of power sharing and multiparty proportional representation. External pluralism and political parallelism is common in this model.

In the organized pluralism model, social groups are central to the political process because they often govern political, social, cultural, and/or educational institutions. Corporatism is organized pluralism with the formal integration of these social groups. External pluralism and political parallelism is common here.
In the model of rational-legal authority, institutions are autonomous of political parties, based on merit, and act according to established procedures. Professionalism of journalism predominates here and instrumentalization of the media is unlikely. This sharply contrasts with Clientelism, in which resources are controlled by patrons and delivered in exchange for support and/or deference by “clients.” Formal rules are less important than personal connections here, so journalistic professionalism is unlikely, and instrumentalization is generally high.

There is also a distinction between moderate pluralism, where parties tend towards the center, and polarized pluralism, where political spectrum is wide and parties tend to have distinct, sharply opposing ideologies, so political parallelism is much more prevalent.

Historical roots can tell a great deal about European political tendencies. For example, the tendency for Northern Europe was for liberal forces to replace the old order early on. Where this pattern prevailed, moderate pluralism, rational-legal authority, mass circulation media and journalistic professionalism are common. In contrast, in Southern Europe, industrialism developed much later so sharp political conflict persisted much longer. This has resulted in strong political pluralism and Clientelism.

Example of political competition in majoritarian system:

Example of victory through consensus of different groups in a multi-party system:

Example of effect of political Clientelism: Greek voters lose faith in the system

Public and Private in Contemporary French Politics by Raymond Kuhn

Put bluntly, “everything private is potentially public (CR, 186).” This is because there is no definitive line between what political information is deemed public and what is deemed private in France. In the sphere of politics, we have 3 key players: politicians, journalists, and the public. The lives of politicians are now becoming more fundamental to elections than ever. Today, we have three types of political news stories: public revelations, where the info is voluntarily disclosed through an overt public process; private revelations, where the info is also voluntary disclosed, but through a covert non-public process; and we have public secrets, where the info is released against the politician’s will. Not surprisingly, the main areas of contention are money, health, sex, and family values.

We can analyze the relationships between the key players (politicians, journalists, and the public) to better understand the big picture. In regards to the public, Politicians generally emphasize good personality traits along with their political stances. A politician’s image, which is subject to constant feedback from the polls, is often more important than his/her political beliefs. There is a growing desacralisation of politicians, which means their private lives are becoming more and more public. This makes it harder to project the image of a heroic leader. In turn, today, politicians are trying harder to look as if they relate to the public to avoid looking too elitist. Among citizens, there is growing partisan de-alignment and judgmental voting, partially due to decreased electoral significance of social cleavages, such as religion and income. Voters have also become more difficult to mobilize, especially young voters, due to mistrust in the system.
Explosions in radio, TV, and electronic media have created very competitive media markets. In turn, circulation of Le Monde and Liberation has declined partly due to popularization of other news sources. This includes free newspapers, celebrity magazines (i.e. Voici and Gala), and newsweeklies (i.e. Paris Match), which have all become political publicity outlets. TF1 and France 2 are the main broadcast sources for most of the electorate, though broadcast media’s main goal has moved towards advertising. The blog phenomenon has spread to politicians as well. This way, politicians can bypass intermediaries and disclose exactly what they want.

Deference and collusion has traditionally characterized the relationship between politicians and journalists, though investigative journalism also exists. For example, Le Canard enchaîné is legendary for its exposure of political scandals.

Ex: “The Gaymard Affair” members of government including Minister of Finance, Herve Gaymard, found guilty of renting out flats owned by the state for personal profit. Gaymard eventually resigned. They are exposed by Le Canard enchaîné.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

French Political Media & Scandal

by Jessica Posey

PAPATHANASSOPOULOS, “Politics in the Television Age”

Papathanassopoulos argues that media are not just “a channel for transmitting messages” but instead “follow their own rules, aims, constraints and production logic” that do not always coincide with those of politicians (125). He asserts that many European societies have entered a “videocracy” (125) in which television plays a large role and in which politicians lose power and status because of these changes to the process of political communication. He divides his discussion into the following four categories: television and politics, television and election campaigning, television and politicians, and television and politics in the era of modernization and digitalization.

First, Papathanassopoulos asserts that television would seem to be the most important medium for politicians due to its “position as a dominant source of news and entertainment and its ability to reach a mass audience” (127). However, he continues that television actually “fails to inform us about politics and also distorts our understanding of both governance and citizenship” and that its growth has “coincided with a gradual abstention from electoral practices” (128). He offers the idea of “videomalaise,” which asserts that dependency on television journalism can be directly connected with “feelings of political cynicism, social mistrust and lack a political efficacy” (128). Papathanassopoulos writes, “[N]obody can argue convincingly that television is the main cause that mobilizes or demobilizes the public to participate in politics and electoral practices” (131). He asserts that “the growing indifference of the public towards politics should be attributed to the decline of politics in a new post-Cold War era rather than being considered as the outcome of television’s dominance” (125-6).

Second, Papathanassopoulos argues that the use of television in political campaigns has “transformed…traditional party campaigns into media campaigns” and made politicians’ “images” the concern of “image-makers” (138). Political parties have also had to succumb to the “logic of the media,…giv[ing] preference to spectacular and sensationalist coverage of political events and the images of the political leaders rather than to hard issues” (138).

Sarkozy giving his Davos 2010 Keynote Speech

Third, he asserts that many politicians, realizing that they can “deflect the electorate from judging them by political record” (140), have increasingly made use of television appearances.However, in choosing the politicians who are more “attractive, interesting, clear and brief in their statements,” Papathanassopoulos argues that we are behaving “more as TV viewers than as responsible citizens” (140). Also, he points out that politicians seem to have simultaneously suffered a decline in authority due to overexposure, which results in a loss of political aura, mostly in the form of televised debates (140).

Socialist Lionel Jospin and Jacques Chirac in 1995 political debate

Fourth, Papathanassopoulos asserts that “the rise of a ‘modernized’ relationship between the media and politics is not seen as making a positive contribution to the health of democracy” as “the European public now regards political institutions as dysfunctional and untrustworthy” (144). He writes that in the “political-media complex,” politicians and the media “battle to control public’s perceptions” but that the two must work together to achieve their individual and often conflicting goals (144).

CHALABY, “Scandal & the Rise of Investigative Reporting in France”

Investigative reporting developed much later in France than in other countries as the revelation of scandals did not become journalistic practice until the 1980s. Before the 1980s, only L’Express and Le Canard Enchaîné launched investigations into the country’s political scene. L’Express began its investigations in the early 1960s when journalist Jacques Derogy joined the “left-leaning opinion weekly” (1195) and became responsible for the revelation of numerous scandals that hurt the de Gaulle presidency.

Founded during the First World War by “a group of radical journalists against censorship and governmental propaganda” (1196), Le Canard Enchaîné has served to embarrass politicians regardless of political affiliation. The weekly was involved in what Chalaby refers to as “the first significant moment in the history of French investigative reporting” (1197) in which the government had employed “builders” to bug their offices. This incident of “Le Canard’s plumbers” added legitimacy to the genre of investigative reporting because of the government’s interest in the publication. In 1979, the genre gained more credibility when Le Monde followed Le Canard Enchaîné’s lead and launched its own investigation of President Giscard d’Estaing’s acceptance of diamonds from Bokassa, an African dictator. Shortly thereafter, some outlets began to form investigative units. What Chalaby calls the “most consequential affair of the period” (1199) did not come until 1991 when an article in L’Evénement du Jeudi proved that hemophiliacs were given blood contaminated by HIV under the knowledge of a public health body.

Today, investigative reporting in France is regarded as a legitimate and even prestigious journalistic practice; however, the genre is still faced with several issues. Few publications have the resources to fund in-depth investigations, and the popularity of the revelation of scandals has been responsible for numerous false accusations. In addition, politicians have worked to develop legislation that prevents such damaging information from being published.

The late development of investigative reporting in France was due to the following factors: literary and political influences on French journalism, a lack of competition in the media field, the venality of journalists, social and cultural values, and wider developments in politics and the judiciary field. First of all, French journalism, as it was often intertwined with the field of literature, often included commentaries and opinions instead of facts alone, which did not encourage journalists to uncover the truth. As the fields of politics and journalism were closely linked with many newspapers still today being partisan, journalists were certainly not encouraged to embarrass those in “the world to which they belong” (1202) and were expected more to interpret political and social events. Second, investigative reporting stems from a desire to increase sales, which was not a significant concern in the relatively uncompetitive pre-1980s French newspaper market. Third, many journalists in France were paid heavily by politicians not to report their embarrassing affairs. Even if those who were not paid in exchange for silence could report on an affair, there would not be enough journalists to investigative and turn the affair into a scandal. Also, it is possible that a large percentage of journalists would not have a problem with such corruption if they themselves were being paid to keep them hidden. Fourth, because French social theories have emphasized the system itself instead of the individual, there does not exist in France the idea that an individual is solely responsible for his or her deviant acts. Therefore, the revelation of a deviant act, perhaps through the work of investigative reporting, is less crucial than understanding the errors of the system that contributed to that act as individuals “do not choose but face their fate” (1205). Fifth, the increasing cost of political campaigns has often caused politicians to succumb to illegal means of obtaining capital, and the homogenization of those involved in politics had rendered their morality a political issue in and of itself. In addition, the tradition of opposing parties in high-profile trials often using different outlets to gain support, and the increasing number of female and low middle-class individuals, who are typically more sensitive to ethical issues, serving as magistrates have contributed to the recent development of investigative reporting.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

North Atlantic & Eastern European Media

Jamie Reid, for the Sex Pistols, 1977


Definition of North Atlantic / Liberal Counties

The liberal countries are by definition those in which the social role of the state is relatively limited and the role of the market and private sector relatively large….Market institutions and liberal ideology developed strongly.

The liberal “Anglo-American” model is more widely recognized as a concept. It includes theUnited Kingdom and Ireland. Canada and the United States are discussed but not emphasized in this course.

In all of the countries:

-commercial newspapers developed early without much political involvement

-there is an informational style of journalism

-political neutrality is strong in the press, except for Britain

-journalistic professionalism is strong, except for Ireland

-public broadcasting and regulatory authorities are politically insulated

J.S. Mill wrote that British press was influenced by “commercial money-getting business and religious Puritanism.” Protestantism played an important role in the development of literacy because of the emphasis that all men should read the word of the Lord.

There was also an early expansion of the market and social classes. In the 1700's in Britain, there was a decrease in royal power and increase in laissez faire economic policies. Politics became more of a rational inquiry discussed with common sense. But the first official daily press The Daily Courant, was financed by the government.

This promotion was designed by and is named after the "Tea Party" American General Christopher Gadsden.

Britain is known for “taxes on knowledge,” started with the Stamp Act of 1712. This tax was imposed through the colonies on newspapers, pamphlets, advertisements and paper. This was one of the main conflicts between Britain and the US. However, when it was announced, the US First Amendment was interpreted as too narrow by some because it seemed to leave regulation to states, or as too general without direct punishment for issues like libel.

Frenchman Alexis Tocqueville

Alexis Tocqueville wrote in Democracy in America “ a newspaper can survive only if it gives publicity to feelings or principles common to a large number of men.” The liberal countries are not known for party papers, with a few labor papers in Britain and Ireland. In Britain, class differences are visible between quality serious press for the upper class and tabloid press favored by the middle and lower classes. Ireland imports Britain’s tabloid press.

Point to consider, p. 203

In the liberal model “the increasing value of newspapers as advertising mediums allowed them to gradually shake off government or party control and to become independent voices of public sentiment.” This view was challenged by revisionist scholarship …which saw the commercialization of the press as undermining their role in democratic life, first by concentrating media power in the hands of particular social interests – those of business, especially – and second, by shifting the purpose of the press from the expression of political viewpoints to promotion of consumerism.

Commercialization is an increase in the market emphasis of newspapers, through advertising and efforts to increase circulation numbers with more interesting content. Commercialization freed the newspaper of government subsidies but the news did not loose all political ties as many media magnets became political players. Hearst sought Democratic nomination for president and Lord Beaverbrook was quoted as saying he ran newspapers “purely for the purpose of making propaganda.”

William Randolph Hearst. 2nd from left

Britain is characterized by moderate pluralism with an orientation toward the center. However, when the “common citizen” editorializes, it normally takes a right wing, nationalist, anti-communist stance with traditional gender and social views. The quality papers of Britain are the most subtle in political style, similar with The New York Times. The BBC and Independent Television companies act under requirements of impartiality.


Professionalism is strong in the North Atlantic except for Ireland. In the US the pay of journalists was at first low which resulted in low ethical standards as journalists could be easily bribed to fabricate or embellish news. The “yellow journalism” of the early 20th century eventually subsided. Perhaps due to commercialization, the news is rooted in an ideology of customer or public service.

Rupert Murdoch built his experience in British media

Australian Rupert Murdoch started with British news in 1969 and did not initiate his manipulated American news until the 1990’s. Britain has the highest problem of slanted news after Italy. Many journalists describe “editorial interference,” with up to 1/3 of stories changed to enhance interest (p. 227).

Political Parallelism

The liberal countries use more “fact centered discourse,” with information and neutrally narrative styles. The neutrality means there is a low level of political parallelism, with Britain at the highest. In the US party affiliations of newspapers are normally vaguely implied.

Point to consider, p. 210

The use of the term “neutral” to refer to the Anglo-American style of journalism is not meant to imply that it is literally “value free” or without a point of view…the point is that these media position themselves as a catchall media cutting across the principal lines of division between the established political forces in society.

Point to consider, p. 226

The idea of what is professional also varies. Some people consider a professional journalist one who works the news for a tabloid. There is also a different between the American idea of professional as neutral and the European idea of professional as demonstrating independent judgment and authentic subjectivity. To the Europeans, the American were not “honest witnesses.

Point to consider, p. 233

The relation between the state and media is not solely a matter of regulation, subsidy and state ownership. It also involves the flow of information – including images, symbols, and interpretive frames. And in this sphere, it is not at all clear that the media and the state are more separate in Liberal countries than in the other two systems studied here: though the rhetoric of the Liberal countries tends to stress and adversary relation between the media and the state. ..both state officials and journalists claim a kind of neutral authority.

The North Atlantic countries are considered moderate pluralized but they are also individually plural and consider themselves providers of information to the common man or woman. Britain however bans churches and political parties from having a press license which is encouraged in other places like Scandinavia. Public broadcast is controlled by the majority party or it must be separated from the political party. Issues of clientelism, of preferential information, are observed in Ireland. I


The liberal countries are

-early industrialized, commercialized

-limited government involvement, except in Britain

-moderate to individualized pluralism

Eastern Europe

Hedwig de Smaele, (2009). The Enlarged Audio-visual Europe. 13-21.

Images from an Eastern Europe road trip on Car & Driver

The region of Eastern Europe includes the following countries: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria. These countries were under communist regimes until the 1990's. They are now going through a process of Europeanization. The problem of Eastern Europe identity crisis goes back even further to first the Ottoman then the Astro-Hungarian empires which controlled these nations.

The Berlin Wall created the 20th century divide and sense of otherness of the Eastern Bloc. These countries have been asked to respect “principles” known as the “Copenhagen criteria
-functioning market economy
-capacity to cope with competition
-stable democracy with respect of rights and minorities
-willingness to use 80,000 page of legislation

While there is an effort to bring Eastern Europe into good relations, it seems only mass media events like Eurovision or the Euro Cup allow them to be individual but also together.

The larger problem is that 80% of Eastern European media never leaves Eastern Europe, making it hard to see and research. The EU started a partnering campaign for exchanging media.
France > Hungary, Romania, Czech
Germany > Poland
Greece > Balkans (former Yugoslavia)