History of print media in France
Print media has by far the longest history among the media still operational in modern-day France. The first weekly periodical, La Gazette, was published in 1631, while the first national daily newspaper, Le Journal de Paris, started in 1777. As was the case right across Europe, readership of French newspapers in the eighteenth and for much of the nineteenth centuries was limited to elite sections of society (Sassoon, 2006: 194–9). Regardless of some short-lived flare-ups in the number of newspaper titles after the 1789 and 1848 Revolutions, it was not until the last quarter of the nineteenth century that the press experienced a period of unprecedented growth during which it achieved the status of a mass medium in terms of news delivery to an audience of noteworthy size.
As early as the 18th century, France had developed a literary press of opinion in Paris along with a less interpretative more information giving regional press. The two, notably crossed paths in history when the Paris press produces mass circulation newspapers in the 19th century but the distinction remained intact even as late as the early 1970s when the very opinionated new paper liberation emerged from the social protest movement of 1968 to become a notable part of the Paris newspaper world.
Soon thereafter, in 1976 the Paris press lost its circulation dominance and a regional daily in Rennes, ouest France took the lead.
The overall number of daily newspapers rose in the early 21st century thanks to the development of free newspapers. The number of dailies remained stable at 24 national titles and 85 regional and local titles in the first years of the century. In the meantime, the free dailies, which arrived on the French market with Metro in 2002, rose to 24 titles by2008, including regional editions of the two leaders,...