Monday, November 29, 2004
France: Le Monde editor-in-chief resigns... and it's just a first step
For the French press, it's a big deal: the editor-in-chief of the most prominent daily, Le Monde, announced today he was leaving the post "to go back to the simple joys of journalism and writing." Edwy Plenel was (is) one of the most influential journalist in the country and he contributed to change the style of the newspaper and especially its front pages (more aggressive titles, more investigative articles...) with Jean-Marie Colombani, paper's publisher (an ex-journalist too) who called the dismissal "a trauma" for the whole newspaper after ten years of close cooperation.In fact, Edwy Plenel appears as the scapegoat of a Le Monde affair. Colombani was under pressure after the newspaper (and the group) revealed losses of 100 million euros (more than 130 million US$) in the last three years, even if in the same time Le Monde acquired new interesting publications (Télérama, Courrier International...). As it was impossible so far to make Colombani responsible of these poor results, the newspaper number two must fall! In my opinion, there is a sort of "Vivendi Universal syndrome" in the French press. As Jean-Marie Messier - but at a different level -, Colombani wanted to build a big media group, but losses have increased to an unbearable level. And today, Le Monde says its strategy of "group building" will not change. Messier said that as well in May 2002 one month before he was dismissed... Nevertheless, it's difficult to compare the Vivendi board to Le Monde board were journalists have still a short majority. The conclusion of this story is that it's just a first step in the reorganisation of the French press.
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