Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Professionalism is not essential for L'essentiel

Please take a look at this article from yesterday's L'essentiel and see if you smell something fishy about it:

Well, it is an advertisement to a gym, showed as an informative article.

Outrageous lack of professionalism from some guy called Denis Berche and the editorial team of L'essentiel.

It's a rare opportunity to see so many words of praise and positive adjectives in one article. We just roughly translated some of them:

- "L'Ellipse is a unique place"

- "it could have been a lounge bar, but it is a gym. Incredible"

- "admiring", "design catalogue", "truly different", "it looks like no other", "the visit impresses"

And, finally, the cherry on the cake:

"there is no doubt. L'Ellipse is the most beautiful fitness club from Europe"

You don't say, Denis boy: you've seen them all from all over Europe and you are certain.
Amazing, I did not know a newspaper can pay that well so you can travel all around this continent.

I could agree with this article under one condition: that our Denis wrote it on purpose to make it to the journalism books, in the section negative examples.

Well, if this was the purpose, you did it. You can go an relax now in this gym-lounge bar... Maybe you can get a free subscription as a reward.

Also, for the chief editor of L'essentiel, I would think one punishment is needed: take 200 push-ups while repeating: journalists are supposed to be objective, journalists are supposed to be objective ...


Anonymous said...

Do you have a beef with Denis Berche or Ellipse? Why do you care so much about an article in the trends section of a free newspaper? How destructive and pathetic.

Elena and Marius said...

As a general note, we will not lower our standards of discussion to your level of understanding and dialogue.

Secondly, we do not have any connection with L'essentiel, its employees or collaborators, or with Ellipse and its employees and collaborators.
Nor do we have any connection with any other company / individual active in their respective fields of activity.

For those who understood our post, further reference to Codes of Ethics of journalists can be found at:

Anonymous, if you do not think thoroughly before you write a comment, please refrain from writing any further unfounded accusations and insults.

Anonymous said...

Dear Elena and Marius,

It seems as if the pot is calling the kettle black. As your initial post didn't seem to be straight out of an Oxford University thesis with exclamations like "fishy", "Denis boy" and implications that Mr Berche might unethically be looking for rewards if he expresses a positive opinion on a subject, my response was in fact targeted to your level.

Putting petty banter aside, I fully understand and agree with your point that journalism should be objective. However, given l'essentiel's positioning as a popular free newspaper intending to equally inform and entertain (hence the regular appearance of starlets on the cover) I believe that readers do not expect the same standards as one might, (with a heavy emphasis on the word "might") find in more well-known international journals. I am regularly shocked by the skewed nature of many articles in The Economist, the Financial Times and other periodicals which the general public believe to be pinnacles of great journalism.

In short, your arguments might have more weight (at least with me) if you choose a more suitable target and convey your message in a more constructive manner.

Thank you for the lively exchange and all the best for the holidays and new year.

Elena and Marius said...

We agree with the fact that L'essentiel is intending to equally inform and entertain, and, furthermore, we think that it is successful in doing so.

After all, we are daily loyal readers of L'essentiel.

And this is the reason why we felt betrayed when we've read that article, because it's intentionally misleading. And the arguments in arriving at this conclusion are clearly expressed in the post.
If the article had mentioned that this is an advertisement, then we would not have had any issues.

This is more concerning to us, since we just found out today that Denis Berche is the editor in chief, and not just an ordinary reporter:

If this is the tone at the top of the newspaper, then it is allarming concerning the capacity of L'essentiel to remain objective.

Now, in regard to the way you choose to express your opinion and the way we did it, we think that there is considerable difference:

- while we wrote the post in a satirical tone, to entertain our readers, we have refrained from making insults. We consider the expression "outrageous lack of professionalism" to be a reflection of the facts, as detailed in the post. Expressions like "Denis boy", "take 200 push-ups", "journalism books" are meant to contribute to the satirical tone. The same case with the reference to the free subscription, as we can imagine that this is immaterial and we do not believe that the subscription alone can impair the objectivity;

- in contrast, your first intervention contained unfounded insults and negative considerations like "do you have a beef with", "destructive", "pathetic".


- thanks for reading the blog. We hope that you will find some of our other posts interesting

- we will continue to read L'essentiel and draw attention to its good and bad parts, as we notice them.

We would like to return your wishes for the holiday season,

Elena and Marius

Anonymous said...

Dear Elena and Marius! Very interesting to read your comments. I also seriously doubt l'Essentiel's neutrality and professionalism. In today's l'Essentiel there was an article written by Denis Berche about BMW's success in Luxembourg. Many readers posted negative comments about the main dealer's poor customer service and this evening the whole comment section has been removed without any comment by the Editor. The article itself is still on the front page, though. I wouldn't be at all surprised though if L'Essentiel, or indeed Mr Berche himself, was paid by the dealership for this article or 'advertorial'... It would be interesting to see what car stands in Denis Berche's garage!

Anonymous said...

Denis Berche, unfortunately, is well-known within professional circles for such lack of professional integrity. That being said, Luxembourg is a small place with a rather mediocre press and they have to make a living, thus their tendency to accept 'sponsorship'. Luxembourger Wort is not much better, although they tend ta stick to a single sponsor: the CSV and anti-foreigner crowd. Give us a publication catering to an international and intellectual audience and you will be guaranteed success!

Carmencita y Juanito said...

We've taken a lot of pleasure in reading the last two comments from our visitors. We thought we were the only ones who found some of the articles in L'Essentiel disguised advertising.


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