“A Mobile Feast”
Walking on the streets of Paris, dark green pavilions can be seen everywhere. Walking into it, all kinds of newspapers and magazines are dazzling: “Le Monde”, “Parisian”, “Le Figaro”… The world changes in these white paper prints, Flow starts with a page and reaches the world. The American writer Hemingway was very fond of Paris, which he described as “a mobile feast”. The same metaphor applies to the newsstands in Paris.
In 2004, due to insufficient profits and operational difficulties, the newsstands in Paris faced the crisis of closing down. To address the crisis, the Paris City Council at the end of 2011 waived all rent previously paid by the kiosk owners and authorized them to sell a variety of goods: umbrellas, sweets, souvenirs, beverages, subway tickets and even pancakes, thus attracting newsstands. more customers. The city council’s only requirement for kiosk owners is that newspaper sales account for at least two-thirds of their business. Inspired by this policy, the number of newsstands in Paris has gradually increased, from 266 before to more than 400 today.
In 2018, the Paris city government launched a major project costing 52.4 million euros to “renovate” newsstands, with a view to providing more comfortable working conditions for newsstand operators and attracting more customers. The former Ottoman-style buildings with lintels and domes have been replaced by sleeker, more modern designs, transformed into small open-shelf supermarkets made of metal, aluminium and recycled glass, with clear glass allowing natural light to filter through in different seasons .
To facilitate the day-to-day management of the newsstand, new computers and multimedia equipment have also been installed. The layout of the interior of the pavilion is modular and can also be adjusted according to the wishes of the operator. In addition, all new newsstands use recycled green materials, and LED lights are used for lighting to reduce environmental pollution and energy consumption.
Newsstands are a matter of life and death
Is a newsstand really just a kiosk that sells newspapers or drinks? For many French people, this is not the case.
The French have always regarded the media industry as a medium that allows people to speak freely, and the parliament has always protected it. As one of the important sales channels of print media, newsstands are undoubtedly a matter of life and death for the development of print media.
New newsstands on the streets of Paris
The rapid development of Internet technology has reshaped people’s reading habits, and high-speed networks are more conducive to news dissemination that emphasizes timeliness. Sophisticated big data algorithms ensure that content and advertisements can be placed exactly as they please, and the platform economy further separates news content from dissemination channels, which greatly impacts the print media industry.
And only when a large number of newsstands exist on the way people must pass, can they attract people to stop, read or buy by virtue of their presence.
In addition, for residents, newsstands also provide space for neighborhood living. The interior of the renovated Paris newsstand is larger, more spacious and bright, with heating and personal storage space, and the disabled can also enter and exit freely. The hot and cold beverages and food provided in the newsstand also provide a comfortable environment for customers, where people can meet, chat and communicate.
For first-time tourists from out of town, the newsstand is also a transit station full of human touch. Here, they can not only buy various newspapers and periodicals to see the local customs, but also buy tickets and souvenirs for various museums and cultural performances here, and even write postcards to send to friends. There are also electronic interactive maps at the entrance of many newsstands, which visitors can use to check their destinations and use guided tours.
In Alessandra Pianoli’s documentary “Le Kiosque” about newsstands, there is always warmth in the newsstands for those in need – those who get lost ask for directions, those whose phones are dead People can temporarily recharge, and people who don’t have a phone can make a call. “All social classes may meet at newsstands, from the homeless to the dignitaries,” says Alexandra Pianelli.
Even if you don’t buy newspapers or visit, the presence of newsstands is comforting enough. In the quiet and bright pavilion, there is always someone waiting. In bad weather or dangerous situations, they are the city’s beacons of safety and shelters that provide assistance.
The cold city needs a warm shimmer
Under the impact of the Internet tide, facing the withering of newsstands, countries have put forward new measures to try to slow down or reverse this trend.
In the United Kingdom, the number of street newsstands is decreasing, and the retail of newspapers and periodicals is gradually transferred to supermarkets; the newsstands in the United States are becoming increasingly scarce, and the government has stepped in to support its transformation, expanding its service scope, and even integrating the concept of e-commerce; the establishment of the German Newspaper Wholesalers Federation “Efficient Consumer Response Mechanisms” to provide retailers with guidance and advice on ordering sales…
It is true that newsstands can no longer provide objective economic value to the city, and may even become a drag that requires a lot of investment, but what it provides How should cultural and social values be measured?
The comics that children bought with their pocket money for a long time, the magazines that high school students choose when they reach out to the world, the newspapers that office workers pick up before commuting, the reading materials that old people who are not used to smart devices choose, stall owners A few square meters of space that we carefully manage, all of which make up the newsstand. But obviously, newsstands don’t stop there. A newsstand can be a window to the world or a neighborhood space full of pyrotechnics. It is a warm shimmer in a cold city, and our cities still need newsstands.