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New French paper

by Archives January 23, 2002

Last week’s launch of Concordia Fran?ais, Concordia’s first-ever French-language publication, brings the number of student newspapers here to three.
“I thought there was no place where Francophones could really express themselves, they didn’t have any voice,” said founding editor Gabriel Anctil, a third-year communications student.
With three English-language papers available on campus, The Concordian, The Link, and The Thursday Report, Anctil thought it high time Francophones had their own paper, and started fundraising for the project last August.
It is estimated that students who speak French as their first language account for nearly 18 per cent of the student population, or almost 4,900 of the nearly 27,000 students enrolled at Concordia.
“I think it’s great for people who speak French at Concordia,” said journalism student Frederic Murat, a native of France. “I think it’s good as long as it is not a fight against English speakers.”
Murat said that although he was impressed by the quality of writing in the paper, he would like to see more news on its pages, an opinion echoed by former CSU interim President Patrice Blais.
Blais said the absence of a French paper on campus was one thing he has long found lacking in the Concordia community. “I think it’s based a lot on opinions, but it’s a good start and hopefully the project will develop.”
Blais explained he was an enthusiastic supporter of the project, which received funding from the CSU as well as the Student Special Project Fund, which is administered by the office of the Dean of Students.
“They didn’t tell me what to say or what to think,” said Anctil. “We can say whatever we feel like saying. That’s the goal of this paper – no censorship.”
While other student papers are highly dependent on advertising to help cover costs, Anctil suggests that in Concordia Fran?ais, it is conspicuous by its absence. “You have to be careful about what you say about these companies [who purchase ads] because if you say something bad, they will cut funding,” he said, adding: “Ideas and opinions are free. We just have to pay to print the paper.”
The result is that Concordia Fran?ais resembles an alternative paper, where the emphasis lies not on news but on discourse, uncensored opinion, and debate.
Anctil suggests that the monthly paper’s slogan, “La liberte de le dire [the freedom to say it]” is a subtle thumb of the nose to the mainstream media, which he admits to viewing with skepticism.
Of Concordia Fran?ais’ front page featuring a caricature of Representative Union Presidential candidate Chris Schulz as an unwitting rat about to get microwaved, Anctil said: “He’s a politician so it comes with the territory. It’s nothing personal.”
Anctil said he is working to secure funding and resources to ensure the continued existence of Concordia Fran?ais after he graduates this spring.

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