One to One: Reader-Editorial Interactivity

by Ric Erickson

Number 1.18 - Metropole Paris, Monday, 24. June 1996:- When I first came to France a little more than twenty years ago, there were no 'events' in Paris as far as I knew.

In Hamburg, during the week we used to meet in a downtown bar after work - Tante Else's, and after a few beers we all went to our own homes. On occasion we would meet for a party or a picnic on weekends, but otherwise we would pass weekends with our own pursuits.

In Paris it was different again. Not a few beers weeknights on the way home as in Hamburg; not spending whole evenings in Gaststatten, as in Munich.

In Paris we were so scattered, that we used to meet on Friday nights - for an after-the-work, after-the-week unwind - and then end up passing the whole evening together in some place that had been decided upon by telephone poll, or in the after-work bar. The only 'event' we had in common, was the Arc de Triomphe race at Longchamps in September or October - the real end of summer.

Since I invented this job of reporting on Paris, I spend little time in bars, because most of the time I am chasing 'events.'

There is an continual avalanche of events in Paris. To write the tail-end 'Coming Events' of this column I have the official Paris Tourist Office 'Selection' magazine, but I also have a monthly magazine called 'Paris - The Journal,' which features local events, listed by arrondissements. Also, I have an annual list of all the expositions and salons, published by the Chamber of Commerce. A variety of magazines are devoted to lists of events, restaurant listings and movie programs. The newspapers often announce events only days or even 24 hours beforehand, and if they are 'major' I have to scramble to fit them in.

The sum total of all these Paris 'events' is - there are too many of them. What Metropole covers is less than one-half of one percent; no more than a whiff.

So why mention this aspect of Paris and Metropole at all? Online, 'on-time' publishing is brand new, and I think what a lot of readers may forget to consider, is that this new publishing is 'interactive.' Unlike print, unlike television - if you can find Metropole to read, then you can participate - via the Internet.

Readers who have written - thank you! - know that I return some sort of reply, usually within 48 hours at most. This has surprised some readers. As long as it will work, I will try to apply 'Internet-ethic' and that means acknowledging reader's messages as quickly as I can - simply because it is technically possible. And if it is technically possible, then it is good editorial manners to do so.

With this technology, Metropole makes available - a minuscule amount - of Paris' events, to readers, nearly 'on-time.' Doing this takes a lot of my time; responding to readers takes relatively little - but I am hoping that this aspect of online publishing - the interactivity - becomes an element in itself; something that sets publishing on the Web apart from any other form of 'mass' communication.

The jargon word for it is 'narrow-casting' - and what we are doing - me the editor, you the reader - we are trying to find out if it is worth anything. The only way we'll find out is if we get as 'interactive' as we can.

Coming Events: A Selection:

Festival :

La Villette Jazz Festival
From Friday, 28. June until Sunday, 7. July. 50 concerts over nine days, 350 musicians, 9 bandstands. At the Parc de la Villette, in the Grand Halle, Cité de la Musique, Conservatoire and Theatre Paris Villette. Daily at 20:00. Information: tel.: 40 03 75 03 for program or 40 03 75 75 for tickets. Access: métro line 5, station Porte de Villette; buses, number 75 or PC. Note that this is same location as the Cité des Sciences, but that the music part is at the south side of the Canal d'Ourcq, at the south-east part of the Parc de la Villette.

Festival Foire Saint-Germain :
- Marché de la Bibliophilie, Vers une Ecole du Livre. From Tuesday, 25 .June to Sunday, 30. June; from 11:00 to 20:30 daily. Place St. Suplice. Tel.: 40 46 75 12.

- Fête - Le 2e Siècle du Cinéma. Demonstration of the making of a film. Saturday, 29 June and Sunday, 30. June; from 11:00 to 20:30. Place St. Suplice. Tel.: 40 46 75 12.

Sports :

Last portion of Seine passage and arrival of the Paris - London - Paris nautical 'Raid' - about 17:30 to 18:30, today, 24. June, at the Port de Plaisance de Paris Arsenal. Tel.: 48 55 40 12. This 'raid' started from Paris on Thursday, 13. June.

This Paris port is located between the place de la Bastille and the Seine. Métro stations Bastille or Quai de la Rapée. A view of the flotilla should be possible before the arrival.

The usual couple of URLs:

French radio online: requires RealAudio or StreamWorks.

Les Animaux :

Newspaper :
Le Républicain Lorrain : -

Et toujours, Paris Newspaper, Libération 'Multimedia' : -

Antiques : (including an original Georges Sand manuscript) -


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