In French class in high school I heard about a popular Paris newspaper called Le Canard Enchainé, the Enchained Duck, a name that’s hard to forget. It turns out that Le Canard turned a hundred in 2016, having been started in 1916 during the worst year of the First World War. National Public Radio’s Eleanor Beardsley had a remarkably interesting report on it yesterday, the text version of which you can read here. (See also the Wikipedia entry.)
Le Canard is basically the French print equivalent of HBO’s The Daily Show with John Oliver: investigative journalism delivered with sarcasm and comedy. The most remarkable thing is that it’s a weekly paper with no advertising, a staff of 30 reporters (plus free-lancers), a weekly circulation in the neighborhood of a half-million copies and a profit in 2015 of about three million dollars. Profits go into a fund to protect the paper from a future financial downturn, so that it won’t fall into the hands of a media corporation or wealthy owner; the assets total over 100 million euros.
American newspaper people must weep bitter tears when they read of this, given the serious problems faced by newspapers here. (For more about that, see this recent post.)
The NPR report errs slightly is saying the paper lacks a website. It does have one, but only a minimal to provide information about the paper: http://www.lecanardenchaine.fr (for an automated translation into English, see this link). It avoids putting much on line because it’s financially dependent on selling the print edition.
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