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Le Monde, France

All the Best… to the Press

Translated By Charlotte Schwennsen

27 December 2012

Edited by Lau­ren Gerken

France - Le Monde - Original Article (French)

Last print issue. #LastPrintIssue. Whether you are a journalist marked by narrative excellence and the scoops of the weekly or a citizen attached to magazines, information, that is to say, to the desire to understand the world around us, it is difficult to not be moved this week by this “hashtag” on the front page of the last paper edition of the famous American weekly, Newsweek.

A major news magazine is disappearing. 11 years older than Le Monde, Newsweek was born in February 1933, with Hitler and Roosevelt on the cover. It had 4,150 covers, 17 managing editors, covered 13 American presidents and saw 12 journalists killed on the ground. Of course, Newsweek had lost its luster. Dropped by half of its readers, it was sold in 2010 to the Washington Post for one dollar to a billionaire who married it with a successful site, The Daily Beast.

Last print issue. These words mark the end of an era for talented writing — to which our own, that of Le Monde, sends a fraternal thought — and, without a doubt, an era of news in general. In France, La Tribune only prints one issue per week and still loses money, France Soir no longer exists, L’Equipe and Le Figaro are downsizing. In Germany, Financial Times Deutschland has shut up shop, like the Frankfurter Rundschau.

#LastPrintIssue. This “hashtag” seems to point to the digital future of Newsweek and those guilty of its paper death: the freeness of the Internet and the migration of advertising to digital audiences. In the first six months of 2012, for the first time, Google brought in more money from advertisers than the totality of the American press, newspapers and magazines: $20.8 billion for the search engine against $19.2 billion for an industry which, in 2007, still had 88 percent of the advertising market.

Newsweek has not disappeared, asserts its director, Tina Brown. The editorial staff will continue to work for the digital copy. That is a very risky bet, as the digital press, in spite of all its promises of audience, innovation, usage and interactivity, has not yet found its business model. Those profitable “pure players” (only on the net) only employ small teams for an oftentimes niche news.

No general interest source, able to inform with relevance and expertise on subjects as varied as political life and contemporary art, the euro crisis and film production, boasts today of surviving only on the Web. This type of press, which is conceived as the panel for the 21st-century man, exists therefore well, and for years to come, as an equilibrium between print and the multiplication of screens. An equilibrium which all newspapers are trying to determine, with the modesty required by the importance of the issues: to feed democracy and to unravel the complexity of the world.



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