Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Le JT 20H de France2

The network news is a bit ringard in the 21st century of the Internet, but, as a subscriber to TV5Monde, I have been watching the JT 20h of France2 for many years now. As is well-known, we old folks have a hard time getting used to change, so it was with trepidation that I greeted the announcement that the seemingly inoxydable David Pujadas had been replaced. Not that I held any particular brief for Pujadas. His blandness simply seemed de rigueur, what one might expect from a state channel.

His replacement, Anne-Sophie Lapix, is no less bland, her smile no less ubiquitous, though rather more motherly. Pujadas was a Ken-doll, while Lapix is anything but Barbie. But the personality differences matter less than the changes in staging. Someone at France2 has decided that the news should be delivered by people on their feet, roving about the stage, which is now fitted out with diorama-like backdrops and plexiglas comptoirs. Lapix wanders stage right, notes in hand, to confront François Lenglet or one of the other in-house regulars, then veers stage left to take up another subject. All the movement seems quite pointless. Perhaps the very idea of an "anchored" news delivery is outmoded. The Internet has led us to demand interactivity, the ability to zap from headline to headline, focusing only on what interests us rather than on what L'Oeil du 20 Heures has declared the day's feature story.

I'm curious to know if anyone else watches, and, if so, how you've reacted to the changes at France2.

5 comments:

Ronald Tiersky said...


Art - I have exactly the same reaction to the A2 news. In particular the supposition that 'somebody decided that' turning the news into a movable feast makes it more engaging. Over the years more than a few times one has clearly seen French news shows picking up on American cues - for example, that reporters on the beat should walk while talking. I suppose the thought (again, 'someone' decided this) is that walking while talking is somehow more engaging, dynamic.

But there are a few particularly French ticks as well:

1. in explaining a point, the specialists are set up with the news presenters in rehearsed speaking slowly charades of question and answer that indicate that 'someone' believes the telespectateurs aren't bright enough to be addressed as adults. Ditto the cartoon visual aids.

2. shouldn't 'someone' notice the bonsoir/bonsoir sync problem?

3. the greatest mystery: (you and I had an email about this you remember): when and why did French public figures--politicians as well as news presenters--start wearing dark suits and ties as a kind of uniform (like a Communist party leadership, substitute red ties)? Even Macron complies with the fashion. A few weeks ago a few brave commentators started wearing different color ties -

Art Goldhammer said...

A2! Surely that usage dates both you and me. A2 and ORTF went out at about the same time, I think.

sushi105 said...

I thought eggzackly the same thing: why is she wandering around the room, how is this innovative or interesting? And she is no better but I guess no worse than Pujadas whom I had difficulty getting used to when he first started, he looked about 12. I liked Claude Sérillon who was fired v fast.

Massilian said...

I am a "septuagénaire" (not that I spontaneously identify with such a narrow definition..."Age is a matter of the mind, if you don't mind, it doesn't matter"J.B.Shaw) but I gave up a long time ago on all "Journal de 20h", whatever the channel. A complete waste of time. I can't defend the France 2 formula vs TF1 or France 3.
I contest the selection of subjects, the amount of time dedicated to bullshit matters, the amount of open or hidden promotion, and the excessive importance given to the omniscient and always a little patronizing presenter.
I noticed that there were far better journalist-presenters on Public Senat for instance or more concise and modest ones on Arte.
30 or so years ago I remember an inspired & witty J.L. Godard who was invited at "The Journal" and who, subject after subject was allowed to provide his mmovie directors pov. After t he first reportage, he analysed : "For 3 long minutes I watched allegedly important people coming out of planes and getting into cars and out of cars into building then shaking hands and walking into corridors until they reach a conference room while a voice over told me there was an important meeting about critical issues and complex matters that were not at all explained, so you didn't really texplain me anything and your images were pointless. And so forth subject after subject. Surgical deconstruction, if I may call it that. Brilliant exercise. After 30 minutes of news how much remains that you really learned and was worth knowing ? I gave up.
Yet I understand that living in the US, the "Journal de 20h" may provide a kind of French fumet.

Massilian said...

Addendum to prior comment :
I realize that the great winner of my disinterest for information sources on television is not the web, but radio. I listen much more to radio these days than I did ten years ago and I spend more time on internet reading what I can grab from professional foreign sources ( UK, US, Germany... I miss being able enough in Spanish) rather than national sources.
I thought radio was a dead media and on the contrary, at least in France, at least for France Inter, France Culture and I believe globaly Radio France it expended its influence. Better experts, better debates, deeper insight... That the banal images out and the words grow in importance...