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media in france seminar week 5


We will begin this week by looking at some of the early apparent tensions within the Gaullist control of television. In particular, we will assess the degree of latitude enjoyed by regular documentary programmes such as Cinq colonnes à la une in their coverage of topics such as the Algerian War (as compared with the stricter control over news broadcasts).

We will then go on to consider the broad technological, cultural, political and economic factors that would render unsustainable the Gaullist 'paleo-televisual' model for control over electronic media. We will consider through video footage how these were crystallised and intensified through the May 1968 events, as well as their longer term effects.



The first text for reading this week is a general overview of the documentary television 'magazine' programme Cinq Colonnes à la une, which ran from 1959. You can download it HERE (PDF Document).

Please try to answer the following questions on it:

1. Account for the success of Cinq Colonnes à la une (pp. 43-61)

2. Why did the formula of televized news 'magazines' diversify and spread after 1964-5? (pp. 61-69)


The second text for reading this week looks specifically at the treatment of the situation in Algeria in Cinq Colonnes à la une. You can download it HERE (PDF Document).

Try to complete the following tasks:

1. List the factors that limited the reporters' accounts of the Algerian War.

2. List the factors that led them to more complex or challenging representations of the situation in Algeria.


We will view and discuss some extracts from the programme in the seminar; a DVD anthology of the programme will be made available in week 5 in the Transnational Resources Centre.