The French Daily Newspaper Le Matin, Business and Politics, 1884–1897

By Dominique Pinsolle

Founded in 1884 by a New York journalist, Samuel Chamberlain, Le Matin was supposed to radically change the French press by introducing it to American methods of journalism. However, thirteen years later, the newspaper had become a tool of blackmail and corruption, and was sold due to commercial failure. This article analyses the links between Le Matin’s dependence on the business world, on the one hand, and the relation between its backers and the political world, on the other. Launched with the financial support of an extremely wealthy American businessman, Le Matin, which seemed to promise success, drew investors who were most interested in earning money. The paper, which was not profitable enough, quickly disappointed its American shareholders. Their dissatisfaction allowed the journalist Alfred Edwards to take the helm of Le Matin. Increasingly confronted with financial difficulties, Edwards transformed the paper into an instrument of blackmail against enemies of its financial supporters. In this way, the relations Edwards maintained with the political world became subordinate to the paper’s economic imperatives.


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