July 28, 2021

The journalist Jacques Amalric, former head of the foreign service of the “World”, is dead

He was a journalist with the glasses screwed on the top of the forehead, the shirt sleeves rolled up, the tie undone and the work tools carelessly scattered on the desk: piles of dispatches, books and newspapers framing a full ashtray and a glass of pick-me-up. . In the early 1980s, the daily newcomer The world did not enter without some apprehension the office of the head of the foreign service, rue des Italiens, in Paris. Jacques Amalric, who died Friday, June 4, at the age of 82, was a reference journalist. And the opposite of a man of reverence.

With him, provocation, amiable or cowardly, was a way of entering the matter, a way of greeting you. Irony was a dual nature. The short sentence, often in the interrogative mode, tinged with the accent of his native Southwest, served as a speech and it was better to understand half a word. Amalric fled from tirades, perorations and sentences of curious. Flattery was foreign to him: a “You did worse” accompanied by a wink at the reading of a paper served as congratulations. This silent man was not by chance a man of the written press, who was also editor-in-chief of the World then managing editor of Release. He listened as much as he questioned, his chin resting on his right hand in a posture that signaled a dose of skepticism – a priori.

It wasn’t just the rough demeanor that intimidated, the bearish side, the stooped gait, that mixture of grumpy charm and sentimental grumpiness. Jacques Amalric was a monument of journalistic know-how: columnist, analyst, special correspondent, correspondent, midwife of “headlines”, team leader. Above all, he had this ability to catch in the air what will make the headlines.

In the discomfort of doubt

But to World and to Release, Amalric also counted for another reason, which he leaves as a journalistic legacy and which is now more necessary than ever. “Jacques liked to pulverize the clichés”, says journalist Marc Semo. Amalric worked in ” against “ – against the dominant ideology in a writing, the prejudices of the activist commitment, the reflexes inherited from the prejudice, the facilities of the one-way reading grid. To be sure of catching a little of the reality of the time – noble ambition of journalism -, it is better to favor the contradictory and know how to detect a part of truth in the camp of those whom one does not like. “When we get yelled at, it’s because we have worked well”, he replied when he was told of the sermons of an offended minister.

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