Crisis at French daily Le Monde as head editor resigns

France’s prestigious daily Le Monde plunged further into crisis on Wednesday (14/05/2014) with the resignation of its managing editor who is faced with a newsroom rebellion over the paper’s digital strategy.

The resignation of Natalie Nougayrede comes after most of the paper’s chief editors stepped down last week, angry at top management’s lack of communication as the paper struggles to chart its way into the digital era.

In a letter to announce her decision, Nougayrede said she no longer had the authority to do her job with the “peace of mind and serenity” necessary.

“I cannot accept being undermined as head of the paper,” she said. On Friday, her two deputies, also under accusation by a large part of the newsroom, stepped down as well.

Le Monde, a centre-left daily founded in 1944, is France’s newspaper of record and played a prominent role in the coverage of the revelations of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The editors’ gripes centred on Nougayrede whom staff said was “very difficult to talk to”, according to a source who spoke to AFP.

Nougayrede, a veteran reporter for the paper, took up her post in March last year, succeeding the highly respected Erik Izraelewicz who died suddenly of a heart attack in his office in November 2012

The crisis at the daily comes as the press in France – as in many other Western countries – suffers as the Internet eats into readership and advertising.

With a circulation of over 330,000 last year, Le Monde slightly trails behind its rival Le Figaro daily.

Like many newspapers around the world, the daily has been expanding its digital offering in a bid to keep its head afloat, but the internal source said management was not competent in this area. – AFP

 

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