Por thirty-two years, Jean-Pierre Pernaut, who died on Wednesday March 2 at the age of 71, will have made 1 p.m. on TF1 an unmissable news event. Sometimes caricatured, often copied. In 2002, Anne de Coudenhove joined the team of this newscast as editor-in-chief. She will stay there for fifteen years. Fifteen years during which she will build a professional friendship with the “antistar” journalist whose, very moved, she never ceases to praise the qualities of clairvoyance and sincerity.
Point : We learned this afternoon of the disappearance of Jean-Pierre Pernaut, with whom you worked for fifteen years. We can imagine your pain…
Anne de Coudenhove: I’m devastated…I knew he wasn’t well. What do you want me to tell you? Jean-Pierre is someone from my family, from my professional family, from my journalistic family. So we talked daily. We were very close. We worked 12-15 years together, I don’t know anymore…
What image will you keep of him?That of a journalist who worked extremely seriously, without ever taking himself seriously. We worked a lot and we also had a lot of fun. He had an exceptional clairvoyance, an acute sense of information, far from the caricature that one could make of it, with the manufacturers of clogs. He had a deep sense of what French society is, and of its movements. He also had a very fair view of the importance of international events. Not necessarily on a daily basis, we didn’t do it often, but when there was a real event, it came before everything else…
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Which of his qualities stood out to you the most?
It is his foresight and his sincerity. When he spoke to people in his news, it was not “sauce”, he deeply meant what he said. He was a Frenchman like the others, an anonymous man who had managed to get his voice across. He was a man of extreme common sense and extreme bad faith, but that must not be said… I’m not going to tell you that he had a dream character every day, but he didn’t. wasn’t resentful. When he got mad at someone, he was always going to apologize. He was an anti-star… He loved people deeply.
Jean-Pierre invented local journalism which was anything but folklore and which, moreover, everyone started to copy.
He had decided to talk about his illness to the viewers…
Yes, that was part of the sincerity. He wanted to talk about his cancer, this taboo subject that we don’t talk about… He talked about it because he wanted to free up the voices of all the people who suffer in their area, so that we are no longer ashamed of this disease. Yes… it was part of his sincerity… It was his way of saying “I’m like everyone else”, I have the possibility of doing it, so I’m talking about it.
He also confided in you?
Yes, often, because we were very close. He fought until the end. He was very brave.
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What will you remember of your work together?
I think back to the months of January when we ate pancakes every day, every day, because he loved it. I also think back to the specials that we did and sometimes totally improvised, like for Arafat’s funeral, where we lasted an hour when we had just planned an off [une brève, NDLR] at the beginning. Jean-Pierre invented local journalism which was anything but folklore and which, moreover, everyone started to copy. He wanted us to talk about human, societal, concerning subjects… He was anything but jargon.
What would you like to tell him?
You are an exceptional journalist!