The value of independence

Mediapart occupies a place apart in the French press. It has no advertising, it receives no state subsidies and has no financier or industrialist behind it. Instead, it lives from the support alone of its readers.

Mediapart occupies a place apart in the French press. It has no advertising, it receives no state subsidies and has no financier or industrialist behind it. Instead, it lives from the support alone of its readers.

During what will soon be six years of existence, Mediapart has made itself known through its original and exclusive reports and investigations. But what is still not sufficiently known is that this unique online journal is also an economic exception among French press organisations.

With a French edition updated thrice daily, seven days a week, and regularly updated pages of news and features in English and Spanish, Mediapart is managed by the journalists who founded it. The major part of its capital is controlled by its founders, its staff and its small stakeholders (‘les amis de Mediapart’) in a pole of independence that excludes any danger that conflicts of interest might arise, and also protects it against submission to any external pressure. In its refusal to accept any advertising or the state subsidies that are granted to the press, Mediapart operates only with the resource of the income provided by its readers’ subscriptions.

With the exception of French weekly magazine Le Canard enchaîné, which also carries no advertising and is also managed by its journalists, Mediapart’s radical independence gives it a special place amid news organizations. This independence is the foundation of the professional culture of its editorial staff, and the entrepreneurial ambition of all its team; a journal of journalists, a not-for-profit media company, an editorial and economic adventure aimed at demonstrating that our work as journalists can gain public confidence, create a value, and serve society.

For this model usefully serves the public good; that of democracy, which needs a vibrant and plural press, with no dependence upon public money nor submission to industrialists, and with no blind editorial bias or mongering of tittle-tattle; that of the journalistic profession, for all those journalists who, where they work, struggle for their rights to be respected and who, in that struggle, need support and points of reference; and, obviously, that of its readers who, justifiably in doubt over the independence of the media, seek a truly free press which also, in establishing a participative character, gives them open space for expression and freedom of opinion.

Our current advertising campaign across several French television news channels (iTélé, BFM and LCI) and radio stations (Nova, TSF Jazz, Beur FM, BFM Business), is aimed at underlining Mediapart’s specific identity. It was conceived with the kind and generous assistance of TBWA Corporate, whose teams had already helped us at the very beginning of our launch in 2008 – an admirable approach on the part of a professional advertising agency that promoted a press organization that carries no advertising. The total cost of this current campaign is 150,000 euros, of which a third was spent on its conception and the remainder for playtime in the media.

The campaign opens with the question ‘À qui appartient votre journal ?( or ‘Who does your newspaper or new website belong to?’ in the English banner version running on our site), and ends with the affirmation ‘Mediapart, seuls nos lecteurs peuvent nous acheter’ (‘Mediapart, only our readers can buy us’).

À qui appartient votre journal ? © Mediapart

For you who are attached to this website, to its quality reporting, its participative spaces, its independence which unites journalists and readers, and to our collective success in the name of that independence, this advertising campaign is also yours. Please do not hesitate to send it on to others (available here on DailyMotion and here on YouTube) to help us increase the number of our subscribers from the current 83,000 to the objective of 100,000 – a number that would definitively place Mediapart in safety from eventual hazards and accidents.

Apart from our reporting, or at least our reports that are cited by the wider media, we have no other means of making ourselves known than through the support of our subscribers; one subscriber bringing in another by recommending Mediapart to new potential readers. During this campaign, we are proposing a special subscription offer of just one euro for the first month (see the offer here), which is then automatically followed by a subscription at the normal rates. 

When we launched Mediapart, we liked to quote from the first editorial that Albert Camus wrote in Combat, the newspaper born of the French Resistance during World War II: “Our desire, all the more strongly felt because it was often unspoken, was to liberate the newspapers from money and to give them a tone and a truth that places the public at the level of its best. We thought then that a country is often worth what its press is worth. And if it is true that newspapers are the voice of a nation, we were decided, from our own position and for our modest part, upon elevating this country by elevating its language.”  

We are called up by that engagement, and that is why we wanted to make it known to the largest number of people.

Le Club est l'espace de libre expression des abonnés de Mediapart. Ses contenus n'engagent pas la rédaction.