"The first issue was 72 pages long and full of ads"

On March 8, 2006, 20 minutes was in the distribution boxes of Western Switzerland for the first time and was already competing for the favor of commuters(click here for the chronicle). Today, 20 minutes is already fifteen years old and, despite Corona, is recording an all-time high in readership figures. Philippe Favre, editor-in-chief of the commuter newspaper in French-speaking Switzerland, has been with the paper since the beginning. We asked him a few questions in the midst of the birthday festivities.


Mr. Favre, 20 minutes is turning 15! And you are the editor-in-chief from the very first minute, so to speak. Can you remember the first ad that was booked in 20 minutes?

The first issue was 72 pages long and full of ads! In an interview with a German-language trade newspaper, I said that all our advertising space was taken, but the journalist mistranslated and wrote that we would be full of ads by the end of the year. Of course, this does not exist even in our dreams! I must admit that this quota led to a heated discussion with my boss - at that time already Marcel Kohler. Since then, I also answer German-language questions in German, it's safer!


Today, 20 minutes has an all-time high in the reader market, despite Corona. What is the secret of your success?

It's not a secret, it's a lot of work. We strive every day to reflect the topicality with objectivity and succinctly in the best possible way. In fifteen years, we have become the loyal companion of commuters, whether in the form of a newspaper or an app. And in 2020, the demand for information was particularly high because of the pandemic and its impact on the lives of our community.


The anniversary will also see the launch of a new format, 20 minutes NOW! To this end, more than 20 new positions will be created in French-speaking Switzerland. There's a lot in store for you. What can readers look forward to in the next 15 years?

The success of 20 minutes is based on the combination of print and web. Even though this successful duo still has a long way to go, digitization is likely to become increasingly important. For the next fifteen years, I see our video offering as the standard. The job of the journalist will also evolve. Today, the editor is no longer the only one with a monopoly on information. Tomorrow, he will increasingly take on the role of moderator in our community, guaranteeing the credibility and truthfulness of news that will increasingly circulate via channels parallel to the traditional press, such as social networks.


Thank you very much for the interview and Happy Birthday again!


Even if, due to the current Covid situation, no lavish parties are possible (yet), the 15th anniversary will be duly celebrated. Throughout the year, editorial contributions on the anniversary will appear in the various channels and in our own channel 20minutes.ch/15ans, which will be marked with a special anniversary logo. In addition, the entire anniversary year will be accompanied by exciting projects, a cross-media campaign and great competitions.

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