Concordia's Thursday Report

Vol. 30, No. 3

October 13, 2005


Pour l’amour du français

French-language student newspaper is growing from strength to strength

By FranÇois-Nicolas Pelletier

Proofreader Gwendoline Huang and editor-in-chief Yinka Ibukun are both committed to making Concordia franÁcais as inclusive as possible.

Photo by FranÇois-Nicolas Pelletier

When you walk through Concordia’s buildings, you may come across Concordia français. For those who haven’t pick up a copy yet, this is the voice of the more than one in six Concordia students who are French-speaking.

Gabriel Anctil, who is a Communication Studies student, founded the student newspaper in 2002 to increase the French presence on the campus and be a means of expression for those who wanted to write in la langue de Molière.

Gwendoline Huang was there almost from the beginning. A graduate from Concordia’s Translation program who now works for the university, she is the chief proofreader of the paper. She recalls the early days of Concordia français.

“At the beginning, the paper was very political, more focused on advocacy and opinion. Today, we cover a much broader scope, with a big presence of the arts.”

Yinka Ibukun, current editor-in-chief and an undergraduate student in Journalism, describes the paper’s editorial line. “We want to be as open as possible. Our motto is ‘Free to speak,’ so we don’t refuse any type of contributions, unless, of course, they are of a discriminatory or hateful nature.”

Concordia français’ content is indeed varied. It presents news articles, artistic photos, comics, sports articles, essay and opinion pieces, art criticism, poems and short stories. For instance, last summer’s edition was almost totally devoted to literature and poetry.

This openness means that the paper is not only for aspiring journalists. They are welcome to participate, but everybody can contribute. “When I started contributing, my motivation was not to write articles per se, but really to write about Africa,” said Ibukun, who is from Nigeria.

For Huang and Ibukun, love of the French language played a major role in their involvement, and the paper wants to share this love.

Ibukun said, “We are looking for a translator, because we want non-francophones to write in our pages. There are a lot of people who like French and can read it, but are not comfortable writing it.” A few translated texts have already appeared in Concordia français.

The next issue is expected Oct. 13. Only a few pages long at the beginning, the paper now fills between 24 and 32 pages every month, and the objective is to increase the frequency of publication.

Approximately 3,000 copies are printed of each issue, a impressive amount given the absence of advertising.

All students at the university pay six cents per credit through their student fees to support Concordia français. Thanks to this levy, approved in a referendum in 2003, the paper is able to publish without advertising.

Ibukun said, “With the students’ contribution, we can be true to our ideal of remaining totally free of any outside pressure,” to which Huang added, “The paper is also more visually appealing this way.”

Their only concern is that Concordia français still doesn’t have premises on campus. They have to pay rent at their office at 1650 de Maisonneuve Blvd. “This is too bad, because it’s the students’ money,” Ibukun said, “but we have made a request to the university, so we hope we will be closer to the students soon.”

This will not stop Concordia français from publishing. “We have only one goal: to get bigger and better with every issue” Ibukun vowed. Sur ça, bonne lecture!