“Comparative Reportages: An Ontology of French Narrative Journalistic Influences and Dialogue in Chile and Argentina”
Project directors:

John S. Bak, Patricia Poblete

Project Members

Marcela Aguilar Guzmán, Universidad Finis Terrae
Marina Alvarado Cornejo, Universidad Católica Silva Henríquez, CONICYT, postdoc
Audrey Alvès, Université de Lorraine, CREM (EA 3476)
William Dow, American Univeristy of Paris & Université Paris Est (UPEM), LISAA (EA 3349)
Maria Carolina Giliolli Goos, Université Paris Ouest / Lorraine IDEA (EA 2338), doctoral student
Roberto Miguel Herrscher, Universidad Alberto Hurtado
Aleksandra Wiktorowska, Université de Lorraine IDEA (EA 2338), postdoc

Project Partners with IDEA:

Universidad Academia de Humanismo Cristiano, Universidad Católica Silva Henríquez, Universidad Alberto Hurtado, Universidad Finis Terrae

universidad academia de humanismo cristiano logo

Diego Portales

Project Sponsors:

CONICYT (Comisión Nacional de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica) & ECOS-Sud (Evaluation-orientation de la COopération Scientifique, Ministères français chargés des Affaires Etrangères, de l’Education Nationale et de la Recherche)



The objectives of CRONICA are essentially threefold: to provide a historiography of Chilean and Argentinean literary journalism, one that will help to determine what part of their reportage written today is imported and what part is home-grown; to discern from where precisely the imported traditions had originated (Spain, of course, but also France and the United States, and perhaps even Portugal) and what cultural imports were brought along with them; and in discovering what elements are unique to Chile and Argentina, to determine if any of these traits have found their way back across the seas to the U.S. and Europe (Spain and France, in particular), since both continents are experiencing a renaissance in literary journalism and reportage literature to help them placate the current crises affecting the print media.

Program 2019

Collective research on the transference of the 19th-century French chronique juridique to the Chilean press and its influence on the crónica rojo, narrative news article concerned with social violence. An article will be submitted to Literary Journalism Studies.


Project member Marcela Aguilar published the article “A Narratological Approach to Latin American Contemporary Chronicle under American Literary Journalism Parameters” in Brazilian Journalism Research 15.1 (2019). DOI: 10.25200/BJR.v15n1.2019.1349.


Project member Roberto Herrscher will present the talk “Documentary Theatre in Latin America as ‘Performance Journalism’: How the Victims, Actors and Witnesses of a Violent Regional Past Tell Their Own Stories on Stage” at IALJS 14 in Stony Brook (USA).

In May, project leader Patricia Poblete came to IMG_5548Paris to conduct archival research  at the Bibliotèque Nationale. She then traveled to Nancy to work with John S. Bak. While there, she Le_Petit_journal_vendredi_16_mai_1890_p._1_Electric_Chair[1]delivered a talk on 23 May, entitled “Mario Rivas: social crónica, humor and satire.”

In July, John finished compiling nearly thirty years of the French daily Le Petit Journal, looking for early examples of the chronique judiciaire and other 19th-century crime fait July 2019divers that may have found their way to Chile and influenced stories in the Chilean press. The Chilean consoritum will begin translating these texts into Spanish, which will later be analyzed and compared with similar crime stories that appeared in the Chilean press a short while later.June meeting 2019

Two recent profiles of the project  appeared in Chile: “Dra. Marina Alvarado investiga los orígenes de la crónica roja en proyecto conjunto entre Chile y Francia” and “Sobre influencia de prensa francesa en medios localesCon estancia en Universidad de Lorraine docente de la Academia ejecuta proyecto ECOS-CONICYT.”


The French Consortium in Santiago

John Bak and Aleksandra Wiktorkowska flew to Santiago (John for two weeks and Patricia's research group presentation 1Aleksandra for one month) to work on the Crónica project with the Chilean consortium. A research presentation was organized during the first week at the Universidad Academia de Humanismo Cristiano, where Patricia Poblete presented the project, its methodologies and corpus, and initial findings since last January.

A few days later, the CRONICA group met to discuss publishing their research from 2019 and preparing the calendar and budget for 2020. Projects for 2020 will include a panel presentation at IALJS 15 in Copenhagen and an Ecole d’Eté in Nancy on current trends in literary jounralism in both countries, both during the month of May. DSC07170

John and Aleksandra were also asked to deliver talks relevant to their research and teaching. John presented a talk, in English, inJohn 's talk at Univ Catholic Silva Henriquez 2 front of a group of about thirty Chilean students at the Universidad Católica Silva Henríquez who are preparing to sit the exams to become primary and secondary teachers. And Aleksandra was asked to give a seminar on “Ryszard Kapuściński y América Latina” at the Universidad Academia de Humanismo Cristiano. Her seminar was entitled “Ryszard Aleks' K talkKapuściński en América Latina. América Latina en la orbra de Chile en Ryszard Kapuściński.”

The current socio-political crisis in Santiago — where week-long protests turned riots in mid-October about the Chilean government’s visible loss of touch with the city’s students’ and working class’ daily struggles prompted a state of emergency call for military intervention and the city’s first curfew since the Pinchet dictatorship — supplied an important context to the research project’s commitment to literary journalism’s role in exposing and ameliorated social injustice.

In November, Patricia Poblete Alday and Marcela Aguilar Guzmán completed editing the second issue of volume 40 (2019) of the SCOPUS-indexed journal, Literatura y Lingüística, dedicated to “La crónica cover_issue_191_es_ESLatinomericana Actual.” Patricia’s article, entitled “Crónica narrativa latinoamericana actual: los límites de lo real,” reflects on ways the narrative crónica represents and conceives of reality related to “contemporary violence in Latin America, particularly in Mexico.” Marina Alvarado Cornejo contributed to the issue by writing the Introduction.


Program 2020

Planning is in the works to present a full panel on the influences of the 19th-century French press on early Chilean crónistas at IALJS 15 to be held in Copenhagan in mid-May 2020.

Immediately following the IALJS panel, colleagues and graduate students will convene in Nancy for a week-long Ecole d’été (Summer School). The transnational literary journalism Summer School, “Current Trends in French Journalisme Littéraire and the Chilean Crónica,” for Master’s and PhD students of Media Studies, English or Spanish Literature, or Government Policy will explore how current trends in narrative literary journalism in France as well as in Chile is reshaping the media landscape of both countries, providing a significant panaceas not only to counter the decline in print media readership but also to placate the readers’ growing distrust in that media’s global message. Following morning and afternoon workshops and lectures on four principal themes treated in literary journalism (war, immigration, politics and social inequalities), students will be introduced to the historical and cultural motivations behind the rise of literary journalism in both countries. Two professional French literary journalists, Patrick de Saint-Exupery and Adrien Bosc, will be invited to speak to the students about their experiences in writing reportages over the years and in currently editing magazines dedicated to the genre, Revue XXI and Revue Feuilleton. At the end of the course, students will be required to develop their own pedagogical unit (modeled on the four themes presented or based on an entirely different theme not addressed during the course) and present it orally in English before the class.

Program 2021

IALJS 16 will be held in Santiago, Chile, organized by the three Chilean partner universities: Universidad Academia de Humanismo Cristiano, Universidad Católica Silva Henríquez, Universidad Alberto Hurtado, Universidad Finis Terrae. The CRONICA project will present its research to date, and various Chilean crónistas will be invited to participate in the various debates on the Latin American crónica.