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"It is possible to engage several thousand students without compromising the quality of published content"
Jonathan Cohen, a student in Management and Applied Economics (DEGEAD) in Paris-Dauphine, is President of La Plume Dauphine, student newspaper winner of the call for student initiatives PSL. We met with this committed President, for whom the associations have a major role to play in the creation of a community. The first issue of 2018 is dedicated to Université PSL (to be published on January 17).
The team La Plume Dauphine, left to right, Louis Roy, Jonathan Cohen, Philippine Richer and Julie Montaudouin. Photograph of Guillaume Chlique-Bourdeau, a member of Dauphine's Club-Photo.
PSL: Hello Jonathan. Could you define your association in 3 words?
J.C: Curiosity, know-how, sharing.
PSL: Why are you involved in this association?
JC: First of all, the extra-curricular life proposed by Dauphine counted in my choice of university. Then, I chose La Plume because this association brings together two criteria that are essential to me: the realization of a concrete project - the regular publication of a newspaper - and a good internal atmosphere, perceived from my interview of recruitment and which I confirmed later.
PSL: What types of articles do you publish on La Plume?
J.C: In addition to five annual paper issues, we publish two to three articles per week on our site. Each publication is linked to one of our six sections. Our flagship is Dauphine News, in which we relay the events taking place in our university and talk about the concerns of students. The sections Decryptions, Debates and International provide analysis, Sport and Culture contains more informal articles. Mixing dauphinoise news and feature articles is a strength found in few other student newspapers.
PSL: How do you choose the topics?
J.C: Each article arises from the initiative of an editor, and we leave him a maximum latitude in the choice of his subject. Our editor Adrien Bodenès organizes drafting committees to define the file ideas for each issue. Web articles, which are free from the material constraints inherent to the paper publication, are interesting to address topics related to the immediate news, or to address a topic in a very exhaustive manner. We also intend to conduct a survey in the coming weeks with our readers to better assess their expectations.
The seriousness of the students involved in the adventure of this issue and their academic knowledge have allowed us to obtain excellent quality articles.
PSL: Is there a particular meeting that stands out for you?
J.C: As president, the bonds that one weaves with the other members of the office - the general secretary Isella Mortier and the treasurer Louis Roy - are strong. We exchange daily, debate, but always end up finding a consensus.
PSL: Have you identified more promising topics than others? Or (un)expected success this year among students?
J.C: The most promising topics are above all, those that affect the daily life of students, such as the articles of Actualité Dauphine. For example, interviews with university personalities are very popular. But one of the most read articles on our site was written last year for the heading Décryptages: "why is France still a great power? " This proves that it is possible to engage several thousand students without compromising on the quality of the content.
PSL: Do you have a motto?
J.C: A university without a newspaper is like a bird without wings: it does not fly very high. This motto was proposed by the first members of the association, and we find it still relevant.
PSL: You are launching a collaborative issue with editors from seven PSL institutions in January 2018. In practical terms, what did PSL bring you?
J.C: Being a laureate of the call for projects allowed us to finance this issue, to obtain logistical assistance for distribution, and of course to have access to students with eclectic and highly specialized profiles. PSL brings us new prospects for the future.
The president of PSL Alain Fuchs, as part of the interview given for this issue, expressed to us his vision for the PSL brand to become a passport for all students.
PSL: How did this collaboration with the various actors of PSL take place?
J.C: First of all, I want to thank Marion Teyssier, PSL's student life leader, for her support since July 2017. Publishing this issue has not been as easy as it seems. The search for writers has been laborious, and the time constraints of publication have sometimes encountered administrative constraints. Nevertheless, the seriousness of the students engaged in the adventure and their academic knowledge allowed us to obtain articles of excellent quality.
PSL: As a Dauphinois, do you feel that students already know the PSL community well?
J.C: I think that for students, the PSL project is not quite palpable yet. Associations probably have a major role to play in creating a community. Indeed, the associations of each institution with the same social purpose could federate their dynamism and thus increase their potential for action. If the initiative of collaborative projects depends on the will of the students, it is the responsibility of the administrations to create favorable conditions that support the realization. PSL President Alain Fuchs has also told us, in the context of the interview given for this issue, how much he wants the PSL brand to become a passport for all students.
PSL: What do you wish for in the coming year?
J.C: I would like my association to continue to evolve, to undertake more challenges. To improve nothing is to regress.
PSL: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
J.C: Wherever I am and whatever I do, I wish I could be available to La Plume through its alumni network. The experience I have gained as president, particularly in terms of relationships, is invaluable and I will be keen to pass it on.
PSL: Choose a question to answer that we have not asked…
(What did you learn with this project at PSL)?
J.C: As an association, I think the possibilities of setting up technically achievable and intellectually enriching collaborations are great. Most PSL student organizations are dynamic, internally structured and already well established in their institution. But for now, it may be lacking a "PSL spirit" to go beyond the simple cross-institutional project, and open to the larger community, in order to achieve cross-institutional collaboration.
La Plume Dauphine was granted funding among with 15 other student organizations after the first 2017-20178 Call for student Initiatives. Do you want to set up a student organization focused on sport, culture, social engagement between several PSL Schools & Institutes? Please send your application before February 12th and maybe your organization will also be granted funding in 2017-2018!