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April 22, 2012


La Presidentielle and The Media Circus

by soundlandscapes

TODAY, THE FRENCH WENT to the polls in the first round of the Presidential election. If I could vote in France, which I can’t, I would have voted at the polling station just outside my apartment building.

Outside each polling station posters of all the candidates in the election are displayed. In today’s election there were ten candidates.

Like many polling stations my local one was a school.

Before today, all the opinion polls had François Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy more or less neck and neck after the first round but with François Hollande having a commanding lead in the second round.

Just to explain, to win the Presidential election a candidate must win over 50% of the vote. If no candidate achieves that in the first round then the top two candidates go through to a second round of voting with all the other candidates eliminated.

Since François Hollande seemed to be riding high, I decided to go to his Parti Socialiste headquarters in the Rue de Solferino this afternoon some five hours before the closing of the polls.

Rue de Solferino:

What always fascinates me on occasions like this is the media circus that appears.

I live in Paris and I take an interest in French politics but I am not single-minded about it. I also have a great interest in the media and particularly in the technology of the media. So, wandering through the satellite trucks, the cameras and the miles of cables was fascinating for me. ‘Boys and their Toys’ I hear you say, but it’s been a lifelong passion of mine and it remains so.

Covering elections for TV is hard work!

This afternoon, when I was taking these photographs, recording the sound and thinking about this blog piece I didn’t know what the result of the premier tour would be. I only had the opinion poll predictions.

Now, as I write this, I know that François Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy will go head to head in the second round of La Presidentielle on 6th May. With a turnout of over 80% of the electorate in the first round, the outcome of the second round may be uncertain but what is certain is that the media circus in the Rue de Solferino will be even greater than today.

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Apr 22 2012

    Well done! I don’t expect to see (and hear) things like that in a regular TV report. Merci )

    • Apr 22 2012

      Thanks Vladimir. This post came very definitely from behind the camera rather than from in front of it. The media circus fascinates me so I thought this was a good opportunity to talk about it. As a journalist, I hope you can relate to it.

  2. Apr 24 2012

    Nice idea of yours to record the behind the scenes frenzy, it’s really a story unto itself isn’t it?

    • Apr 25 2012

      I find it fascinating how the media village takes on a life of its own on these occasions. At first sight it appears to be chaotic but actually it’s all well structured. Everyone seems to know what they’re doing and where they fit in to the grand scheme. It’s only in the last few minutes before the event begins that everything seems to come together and the apparently seamless broadcasting begins. It’s certainly worth watching.


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