Daily Paper for Children Defies the Craze for Digital
July 27, 2010 11:09 AM   Subscribe

A drawing of his accompanying the folding-car article depicted the vehicle emitting strange noises when folded. A bystander remarks, “Not only does it fold, it talks, too!” To which another replies: “Nonsense! That’s the driver stuck inside.”

Oh, god bless you France. Now I'm picturing how awesome the Weekly Reader would have been were it edited by Alfred Jarry.
posted by griphus at 11:14 AM on July 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

Despite great journalistic names like Le Monde and Le Figaro, the French read ever fewer newspapers.

The World and The Figaro are great journalistic names? The former is as generic a name as you can get, but the second is pleasantly literary, with an interesting history. In short: everything sounds more interesting in French.

I wonder if these kids like it because it seems like a grown-up thing to do.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:22 AM on July 27, 2010

The New York Times only really has two trend pieces:

Children acting like adults and Adults acting like children
posted by 2bucksplus at 11:22 AM on July 27, 2010 [23 favorites]

Whoa, so the 10 year old girl in the middle, is it normal for French 10 year olds to have crazy awesome styles?
posted by geoff. at 11:28 AM on July 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

How cool. How French. But I repeat myself.
posted by bearwife at 11:31 AM on July 27, 2010

Whoa, so the 10 year old girl in the middle, is it normal for French 10 year olds to have crazy awesome styles?

Seconding the whoa, she looks alarmingly self possessed for whatever her years.
posted by doobiedoo at 11:45 AM on July 27, 2010

Informing yourself about the world is socialist and I'll have no part.
posted by DU at 11:56 AM on July 27, 2010 [5 favorites]

The World and The Figaro are great journalistic names?

I think they mean names as in reputations. Like, big-name brands, publishers, designers, etc.

Also, that stylish little girl in the middle doesn't surprise me a bit. My old French primary school students used to put me to shame on a daily basis, in their black and white leggings and their ankle boots, etc, and that was out in the provinces. Kindergarteners, man.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 12:28 PM on July 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Is it normal for French 10 year olds to have crazy awesome styles?

Yes. They're in Europe; we rest are slobs.
posted by rokusan at 12:48 PM on July 27, 2010

The article lost me at "In an age when many children are addicted to computers, iPods and iPads".

Oh, NY Times! Your assumption that "the kids these days" are walking around with $500 iPads because your affluent Manhattanite friends all bought iPads for their children on day one is so charmingly insular! :)

Many children DO use computers, but most children are constantly reading paper books at school, at home (at least for homework), and writing (by hand!) on paper. Try that line again in a couple more ages when people aren't constantly surrounded by paper documents. Not to mention the fact that in Japan, the magical whizz-bang technology land of the future, millions of kids read phone-book-sized manga anthologies on a weekly basis. Is it really that much of a leap to imagine French children (a country that also has a very strong history of comic books) also reading print media for fun?
posted by luvcraft at 12:48 PM on July 27, 2010 [5 favorites]

I wonder if these kids like it because it seems like a grown-up thing to do.

Surely that would be reason not to like it?

(But then, they say that Frenchmen aren't reading newspapers much at all. Are the children rebelling or conforming? Ah, the French. So full of paradox, n'est-ce pas?)
posted by IndigoJones at 12:50 PM on July 27, 2010

Here's an example of the front page (starts page 5 of the PDF).
Main titles:
- Debate and testimony: Louis, 13-year old, goes hunting with his father and his father's friends
- JK Rowlings is awarded the Legion of Honour
- Frogs: 10 unknown species of amphibians have been discovered
- 75% of French voters would vote for a homosexual presidential candidate
posted by elgilito at 1:31 PM on July 27, 2010

So kids like to read content aimed at their interests?
Well how about that.

We get about 30 free copies of the local daily paper at my high school. They sit on a bench that over 500 students pass every day and they're all welcome to take a paper if they want one. Most days there's a bunch left over and it's the teachers reading them, with one exception: On the days when someone the students know is in the paper (drugs/arrest/death/sports/school related) then they swarm on the papers and practically fight over them.
posted by NoraCharles at 1:57 PM on July 27, 2010

Last year Sarkozy gave everyone a newspaper subscription for their 18th birthday as a newspaper bailout. I dunno if they've extended that to kids or not, but it wouldn't surprise me.

Anyway, if this article is about anything more then a handful of precocious kids who get invited to newspaper editorial meetings, it's not all that clear
Petit Quotidien has 75,000; Mon Quotidien, 60,000; and L’Actu, the paper for 14- to 17-year olds, only 30,000.
Seems like this article is just some cheerleading for the newspaper industry.
posted by delmoi at 1:59 PM on July 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

The picture for this article is worth the click alone. I love the expression on the girl in the middle. Hilarious!
posted by Fizz at 3:47 PM on July 27, 2010

They did Brain Quest? :O I loved that! I had a sixth grade edition that I'd just pore over (before getting to sixth grade, of course) until I had the better ones memorized.

I've still never seen My Friend Flicka, but that's the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of alliteration.

This kinda makes me think of Highlights. Reading about Hale-Bopp then running outside at night to find it in the sky! fun times
posted by rubah at 6:10 PM on July 27, 2010

British newspapers were reporting that scientists had discovered which came first, the chicken or the egg. He was greeted by stony faces. The chicken, he said, hoping to stir some reaction from the children.
The children were right to be dismissive - the egg clearly came first; well, 'clearly' if you believe in evolution.
posted by overyield at 6:17 PM on July 27, 2010

Maybe the circulation for L'Actu is so low because 14-17 year olds can read the same paper their parents do. When I was that age I read our local paper, the Wall Street Journal, and the local alt-weekly. Except for the WSJ, I think that's pretty normal.
posted by vespabelle at 8:41 PM on July 27, 2010

The World and The Figaro are great journalistic names? The former is as generic a name as you can get, but the second is pleasantly literary[...]
Ahlàlà, you're talking about two of the biggest newspapers in France, if not in Europe. "But how can you say Europe? They're in French!" Quoting Wikipedia on Le Monde: "Le Monde is a French daily evening newspaper with a circulation as of 2007 of 320,583. It is considered the French newspaper of record, and is generally well respected, often the only French newspaper easily obtainable in non-Francophone countries." I myself can vouch for cross-linguistic newspapers' availability: I can get copies of The Guardian, The Independent, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Der Spiegel, Corriere de la Serra, La Reppublicà, La Stampa, and others I've probably forgotten, at practically every hole-in-the-wall magasin de presse (they also sell magazines, cigarettes and lotto tickets, btw) here in Nice. Even those not in areas frequented by tourists. (The tourists generally keep beach-side. I live in the northern part of the city and work 30km away in Sophia Antipolis, where I can also find all of those.)

I'm skeptical of this: "On a per capita basis, only about half as many papers are sold here as in Germany or Britain, and readership is especially low among the young." Printed papers? About 70% of the French population has internet access, and as for an anecdotal cite, I honestly can't name a single French person I know who doesn't read a newspaper online.

It's great that there's such an enjoyable read for youths, it's great. And yes, French kids have great style!
posted by fraula at 2:58 AM on July 28, 2010

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