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What is behind French website Mediapart's success?

Audio 10:58
French journalist, writer and co-founder of the online journal Mediapart Edwy Plenel poses in Paris on february 17, 2016.
French journalist, writer and co-founder of the online journal Mediapart Edwy Plenel poses in Paris on february 17, 2016. JOEL SAGET / AFP

Ten years ago, when a group of disillusioned French journalists decided to quit their jobs and start their own independent website, industry watchers were skeptical, as Matthew Kay reports.

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They said the public would never pay for news in the age of free information - and their project would fail.

But a decade later Mediapart has become an industry leader - consistently setting the news agenda in France.

Their investigations have unearthed corruption at the heart of French industry, led to the fraud conviction of a former socialist minister and seen ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy place under criminal investigation.

And if that wasn't enough, the website is turns a profit - unique in age of free online news.

Mediapart's publishing editor, Edwy Plenel, explains the site's recipe for success.

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