The French press

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French media:  daily and weekly newspapers in France

Compared to the press in the UK, French newspapers play a considerably smaller role in the life of the nation. The French newspaper industry is characterised by a lack of mass-market national dailies, a lack of the kind of heavyweight Sunday newspapers that one finds in English-speaking countries, and above all the absence of the kind of frivolous and muck-raking daily and Sunday tabloid press that is so omnipresent in the UK.
Updated 2020

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     Apart from the absence of "Sunday papers" and of a popular muck-raking national tabloid press, newspapers in France are as varied as anywhere.
       Almost all French newspapers have lost readers and circulation since 2000, and are continuing to do so. The fall has accelerated since 2011, as disposable income in France has contiued to decline.  For some, such as Le Monde, Libération or France Soir, the fall in sales – due to the rise of free newspapers, the economic downturn, and the Internet –  has threatened or is threating their survival. Indeed, France Soir was closed down in 2012.

Circulation figures below are quoted from the  OJD - the French bureau of circulation.. Figures refer to the average number of copies purchased per issue in France

French dailies ( "Les quotidiens")

a) The quality dailies:
     France has three major national quality dailies, Le Monde, Le Figaro, and Libération; between them, they target the same kind of educated reader market as serious quality papers  – the so-called (former)  "broadsheets" – such as the Times, the Independent and the Guardian in the UK, or the New York Times, the Boston Globe or the San Francisco Chronicle in the USA. There is however one major difference; French quality dailies are on the whole more intellectual and more left of centre than their counterparts in the main English-speaking countries.

b) Other main national dailies.

c) Regional dailies
More people in France read regional dailies than national ones, and some of the regional dailies have very big readerships indeed.  Most regional dailies are mid-market tabloids.

The Sunday press in France

The "Sunday papers" are not an institution in France, as they are in the UK. There are only two notable specifically  "Sunday" newspapers, and one of them comes out on Friday.  They are

Weekly newsmagazines

While there are hundreds of specialist weeklies in France, there are four main newsmagazines that play the role equivalent to that of the Sunday broadsheets in the UK. They are.

Online media

While all French newspapers now have online versions, mostly on the freemium model with some free articles and the rest for subscribers only, there are also three major online news sites.

For further information:

La presse française + full guide to the French press - in French 

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