1. edwingill Senior Member

    England English
    I believe that fait divers means news in brief. Are there any other translations. I seem to recall that it can mean an incident.
  2. E-J

    E-J Senior Member

    Cambridgeshire, UK
    England, English
  3. Gil Senior Member

    Français, Canada
    fait divers
    Source: ici
    Pendant que les francophones s'occupent des «chiens écrasés", les anglos cover "weddings and funerals".
  4. french4beth

    french4beth Senior Member

    You took the thoughts right out of my brain - I remember learning about the former Soviet Union's newspapers in high school in my Russian language class - hard to believe that at that time, people just didn't want to know about bad news! :D

    In the US - 'if it bleeds, it leads.' - meaning the more gory the content, the more likely it is to get coverage. Unfortunately, this mentality makes us Americans out to be even more violent than we really are.:(
  5. Gil Senior Member

    Français, Canada
    Merci. Je ne connaissais pas : 'if it bleeds, it leads.'
  6. Adam Warren New Member

    Ris-Orangis, France
    London, Great Britain: British English
    A "small news item" is a possible equivalent. Besides, I believe journalists flippantly refer to this as "man-bites-dog journalism".
  7. Agnès E.

    Agnès E. Senior Member

    France, French
    Ah! that's interesting!
    Les francophones écrasent les chiens et les anglophones les mordent...
  8. Adam Warren New Member

    Ris-Orangis, France
    London, Great Britain: British English
    Il faut prendre cela au second degré, bien entendu - une inversion vicieusement intentionnelle des termes - et je crois bien qu'il s'agit du jargon des journalistes.
  9. papamac Senior Member

    Tout de même, je viens de lire dans le Nouvel Obs un article où on raconte l'histoire d'un homme qui aurait emprisonné sa fille dans une cave pendant 24 ans et, dit-on, l'Autriche (là où ça s'est passé) serait très choquée de ce "fait-divers".

    Donc, ça peut aussi signifier des histoires plus dramatiques que des chiens écrasés et des "weddings and funerals"...
  10. Adam Warren New Member

    Ris-Orangis, France
    London, Great Britain: British English
    Hullo, Papmac; yes, I take your point. And, as it happens, the Robert includes under its definition an illustrative reference to a "fait divers sanglant".

    The recent news item puts the term in a different light for me. Here, undoubtedly, rather than the admittedly apt "human interest" we are dealing with "human drama". The term "fait divers" could embrace a "man bites dog" small news item as well as a major scandal such as this breaking news. That suggests that there is probably no single answer that will fit every case, and it depends on the gravity of the issue.
  11. GentillyJoe Junior Member

    English - US
    In fact, the expression goes: "If a dog bites a man, that ain't news. If a man bites a dog, that's news."
  12. akaAJ Senior Member

    New York
    American English, Yiddish
    I'm with Gil (and his authorities) on "faits-divers". In the US, "news broadcasts" on "top 40" chain radio stations consist entirely of such. I think the phrase "if it bleeds, it leads" was originally applied to the content of local TV "news" broadcasts (in NYC 10 pm or 11 pm) which consist of faits divers, sports, weather, and lots of commercials; nothing beats color footage of a big fire, or shoving a microphone into the face of a grieving relative.

    Gentilly Joe is correct about men/dogs; not the same as faits-divers. I think the notion that Englishmen bite dogs (while the French crush them) arose by conflating the newsworthiness criterion with Noel Coward's "Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noonday sun".
  13. scottwaller New Member

    LAROUSSE has under 'fait divers' is 'Événement sans portée générale qui appartient à la vie quotidienne' (event that is not of interests to society in general and pertains to ordinary life'. Usually such stories are sensationalist (because they would not be of journalistic interest otherwise; see Pierre Bourdieu 'On the Television') but, unlike, say, political sex scandals, they do not concern public figures. However it is important to note that what journalists, who consider themselves as having some sort of civic responsibility, privilege is a 'fait divers' that they can say 'launches a debate' because then they get the best of both worlds: they can write their more or less gory or salacious story AND justify it as an item that is of general public interest. Thus some of the problems of the definition of the term can only be resolved when considering how the profession to which it pertains functions.

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