Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Ax Falls at Le Monde

Le Monde will, as planned, reduce its staff sharply in order to remain afloat. Some prominent journalists will be leaving. Here is the list (published in Marianne):

International : Michel Bole-Richard (correspondant en Israël), Mouna Naïm (Liban,), en , Fabienne Pompey (Afrique du Sud), Françoise Chipaux (Inde et Pakistan), Francis Deron (Asie du Sud-Est), Thomas Ferenczi, Henri de Bresson et Henri Tincq.

Rubrique Et Vous : Florence Amalou, Michaela Bobasch, Bruno Caussé, Françoise Chirot et Christophe de Chenay.

Le «Monde 2»: Claire Blandin, Michèle Champenois, Dominique Frétard, Cédric Kervice, Sophie Malexis.

Direction de la rédaction et éditorialistes : Jacques Buob, Daniel Vernet, Patrick Jarreau, Eric Le Boucher Jean-Louis Andreani, et Dominique Dhombres.

Supplément radio-télévision
: Catherine Bédarida, Valérie Cadet, Francis Cornu et Jacques Siclier.

Service Culture et le supplément littéraire
: Grégoire Allix, Patrick Kéchichian, Emmanuel de Roux et Martine Silber.

Service France : Christiane Chombeau, Michel Samson, Michel Alberganti, Christiane Galus, Jean-Yves Nau.

Service économie : Eric Leser.`

Dessinateurs : Pancho et Pessin.

Edition du journal
: Bruno Bovani, Christine Clessi, Séverine Fromont, Denis Hautin-Guiraut, Hugues Hénique, François Mégard, Cécile Urbain et Hélène Viala.

Service Infographie : Graziella Boutet, Patricia Coyac, Jean-Pierre Gosselin et Mireille Morfin.

Correction
: Josette Rolinat.

Divers
: Nadine Avelange, Béatrice Malaussena, Didier Rioux, Marie-Hélène Barut, Evelyne Besrest et François Rippe, Hélène Mazella, Jean-Claude Harmignies, Anne Chaussebourg.

Le Monde de l'éducation : Diane Galbaud et Boris Guillaud.

8 comments:

kirkmc said...

It's hard to know whether to be happy or sad for Le Monde. The paper has been dying a slow death for more than a decade, and has gotten progressively worse (leaning toward sensationalism and "weekend supplements") in an attempt to sell to different people. Heavily subsidized, like all French papers, it is overpriced, and perhaps over-staffed.

On the other hand, it's a shame that there will eventually be fewer papers here, because news needs a plurality of opinion. But Le Monde is already superannuated, with around a quarter of a million readers daily; that's next to nothing in a country of more than 60 million.

Kirk

Unknown said...

Kirk,
Le Monde, for all its flaws, remains the country's pre-eminent newspaper. Circulation is not an accurate measure of influence: compare the New York Times and USA Today. The cuts at Le Monde are substantial and include some of the paper's best journalists. Quality will suffer further, but I don't see any other paper currently in a position to replace it. It may be that the idea of a national newspaper of record has been made obsolete by the proliferation of new sources of information. Still, I can't help but feel that a real loss is about to take place, but perhaps that simply shows that I, like the paper in your description, am "superannuated."

Anonymous said...

Art,

It's true that's a sad loss. But Kirk is right in pointing the fact that Le Monde's recent purposeful changes (fancier and more stupid titles, poorer information, cumbersome compulsory supplements, decline in the clarity of writing, and perhaps a sometimes quite explicit right-wing twist) have been quite detrimental (quality-wise) in the first place.

But it's a true loss.

kirkmc said...

Art,

I think your example (NYT vs USA Today) is not very appropriate. Google "New York Times circulation" and "USA Today circulation" - the numbers that come up suggest that the NTY has more than half the circulation of USA Today. That for a "local" newspaper (not really), that has limited circulation outside of major cities (other than by mail).

Compare that to Le Monde, which, because of government subsidies, is avaliable everywhere that newspapers are sold. It has perhaps 1/4 of the circulation of Ouest France, which, as its name suggests, is a "regional" newspaper (with many local editions) that covers about 1/8 of the county.

Not that other national papers sell much more in France, which is the biggest problem: they're too expensive! I, too, like newspapers, and regret that I cannot afford a subscription to a paper newspaper (as opposed to reading online). Anyway, when I did subscribe to Le Monde, it was delivered by mail the next day, already one day old, because of its archaic system of being published at noon - which, IMHO, is one reason why people go to other papers; it misses the day's news.

Kirk

Unknown said...

Kirk,
Actually, for many years, the NY Times has been available throughout the US. Its circulation is 1.1 million. The population of the US is about 5 times the population of France, so proportionally, Le Monde with its 250,000 circulation is doing well, despite its high price. The question is why its ad revenues are lower and its production costs higher, especially since it doesn't have as extensive a network of foreign bureaus as the Times.

kirkmc said...

You should say available "in cities" throughout the US. My mother lives in rural SC, and she can only get it by mail. The same is true for other people I know who live outside of major cities. So the population comparison isn't quite the same. You can get Le Monde at _any_ newsstand in France.

Kirk

Anonymous said...

The high price of French newspaper is often blamed on "Le syndicat du livre". Although I personally think that there other factors to be taken into account, a quasi-monopoly can never be really good for the market.

Anonymous said...

This hurts a lot, but I'm a little surprised that it doesn't surprise me more. Perhaps the analogy with the NY Times is misleading in one respect: for the past fifteen or twenty years, the Times has tried furiously to preserve its market-share. For example, the appointment of the (disastrous) Howell Raines was surely thought to be a market-wise decision (he being all aflame with Bright Ideas and such). By contrast, Le Monde would only lead the charge against the drugsters of the Tour de France.... So now we're left with Le Figaro and Libé. I'm feeling a little malnourished.