Interview. Claude Askolovitch: I'm the guy who tells his boyfriend what he saw in the newspaper

the essential Every day of the week, five minutes before 9 a.m., Claude Askolovitch’s press review goes around France which does not go so badly in the columns of regional newspapers. Morning interview, at the exit of the post.

Were you early in the morning?

Morning, yes, when I wrote articles or books, I could start at 5 o’clock, but I was not prepared to get up every night at 2 o’clock. By working in a morning radio show, we are the opposite of the normal world… I start to work around 3 am 30, for a first press review at 5 h 45, then I go back to see the newspapers and I write the one of 8 am 46, which lasts five minutes , more if I cheat a little. Coming out at 9 a.m. in the middle of healthy people, I was in the same condition as after a third half.


Newspapers, on paper or on screen?

I read the national magazines and the Parisian dailies in print as soon as they arrive, but all the rest of the press is now readable on the internet. An Auvergnat who lives in Kuala Lumpur today can read La Montagne or Center Presse by getting up in the morning just by clicking, and that goes for a Gersois or a Lot-et-Garonnais who will choose between La Dépêche and Sud-Ouest. It’s fascinating to see how globalization recreates this precious closeness to the newspaper.


How many titles do you consult?

My press review is marked by the space given to non-Parisian newspapers, I have a routine of around thirty titles which makes me do a Tour de France every day, which I start sometimes in the South, with Nice-Matin, La Provence, sometimes in the North, with Nord-Eclair, the voice of the North, and every day via Midi-Libre, l’Indépendant, La Dépêche, La République or the New Republic of the Pyrenees, all the newspapers of the Center of France, and also Le Petit Bleu, South-West, West France , Paris-Normandie, I forget…


Comment s choose the ten subjects that you cover?

I am the guy who tells his friend at the bistro what he saw in the newspapers, it’s my side “Hey, did you see that? ! “. What determines me, I would have to analyze it precisely, but I know that there are things that touch me for personal reasons, stories of memory, mourning, fidelity. I avoid political subjects as much as possible, it doesn’t interest me anymore.


Has the press review changed your outlook on the country?

From the regional press, I knew the newspapers from the corners where I had ties, L’Indépendant in Narbonne , The Republican Echo in Chartres… I also knew “La Montagne” through the writings of Vialatte. The Fragments of France, as Le Monde writes with its sympathetic arrogance, I have them every day in the regions. And this country which is sometimes on fire and blood in the national representations, in reality it is not so bad, since we find in the local newspapers of the bakers of Besançon who protect their migrant apprentice. I see a lot of goodwill, benevolence and well-placed pride. I am not naive, however, that does not exclude that I have read all the papers in “La Provence” on the massacres in the cities of Marseille. In general, the press, which expresses the literate part of the working classes, is infinitely healthier than the crazy people who hang out on social networks. The subject is that these crazy people are more and more numerous and do not read you any more.


For you who come from the private sector, what does public service mean?

There are two readings of the public service, the first would like us to demonstrate total neutrality and transparency. Another way of looking at it is what you owe the people who pay you by the royalty: honesty, a certain quality. The Radio France channels are beautiful to listen to, some people at France Inter remember that the ads were composed in-house to maintain the unity of tone.


Is there also your own tone, that of a storyteller, of an actor?

It is my son who is an actor [Théo Askolovitch, révélé dans la pièce Djihad]. My way of saying comes from my writing, which is to tie all the topics together on one thread, and I sometimes leave some info out because I couldn’t find the link.


The Alfred Dreyfus – Emile Zola museum is inaugurated this weekend: “J’accuse”, a subject of press review…

Yes but we do a little too much in the commemorations on our past and we repeat fights that have already been won. I don’t have the impression that we have forgotten Zola, nor that apart from a few fadas we have forgotten the Dreyfus affair. Zola’s “J’accuse” testifies to a time when the press was powerful, one can wonder where he would write it today… .I think of the work on the Uighurs that Raphaël Glucksmann, the left-wing MEP, is doing on Instagram with incredible firepower.


After 9 a.m. in the morning, what is the program?

In theory I should go to bed, in practice I go to the cinema, and on Wednesday I I have the kids to take to sport or to drawing. The interest of the morning is the freedom available to you when it’s over, even though you are exhausted [il s’interrompt pour ouvrir au chauffagiste qui vient régler la chaudière]. Besides, your partner in life always has the impression that you don’t really work, night taxis will tell you the same thing.

Collected by Pierre Mathieu

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