Blog 1-French Election and Story Elements

The New York Times’ piece With French Socialists in Crisis, Manuel Valls and Benoît Hamon Head to Runoff by Alissa J. Rubin includes all of the fundamental elements needed for a good story.

Central Compelling Character–  The story starts with a strong visual of a central character, Jean-Marc Ducourtioux “shout[ing] with his fellow union members as they banged on the plexiglass window of a meeting hall in small-town France.”  Rubin then goes into explaining that Ducourtioux is a member of France’s oldest trade union who used to consistently vote in favor of the Socialist Party, but not anymore.  Rubin explains Ducourtioux’s dissatisfaction with France’s Socialist Party (and the current socialist president, François Hollande) and how it has failed to keep French automakers from moving factories out of the country.  Ducourtioux has been a metal worker for the past thirty years and he has been an active voter, so he has a clear steak in this issue.  Ducourtioux is used to represent the general French public.  Rubin also mentions the story of Vincent Gérard who has lost 80 percent of his clients for his small business throughout François Hollande’s presidency because of the movement of business out of the country.

Conflict/Tension–  Rubin states that, “France’s presidential election this year is being closely watched as a barometer of European public dissatisfaction.”  The current president François Hollande is so deeply unfavored that he is not even running for re-election.  This election will reflect the political climate in France and more broadly Europe.  This election will be particularly interesting since the American election showed that many Americans are dissatisfied with the current government by electing Donald Trump.  The French election will give more hints as to weather the dissatisfaction is most prevalent in the United States or if it is much broader than that.

Data/Expert Testimony– The article cites the result of a left-wing primary where socialist Manuel Valls came in second out of the seven candidates.  Second to Benoît Hamon who was François Hollande’s education minister.  However, the most important part of the Primary is that the voter turnout was down by around 50 percent from the last left-wing primary in 2011.  Rubin notes that few analysts believe that any Socialists have a chance at winning the presidency in the general election.  Philippe Marlière, a professor of French and European politics at University College London said that the Socialists are struggling all over Europe.  Rubin also mentions the opinions of other various professors and political commentators.

Multiple Viewpoints–   This article reflects stories from citizens Jean-Marc Ducourtioux and Vincent Gérard explaining why they are dissatisfied with the current government.  The article also reflects the viewpoints of various professors and political experts from both France and England