Unrest at Le Monde continues as one of its staffers leaked an internal document, in which Le Monde outlined its plans for reorganization, to other French daily Libération, which published a summary yesterday.
To our readers, this document can be of great interest as it maps out a major daily's strategy when forced to reduce costs.
After analyzing Le Monde's financial situation - €20 million in losses in 2007 - the management aims to cut 1,000 pages in a year, the equivalent of about three per day. The daily had previously announced it would cut 129 jobs, leading to strikes in April.
The Culture section is trimmed down to two pages, the 'And You' service section will fit in one page. Le Monde's book review supplement is sharply cut down, from 12 to eight pages - "then to 4," according to the document.
"In rethinking its content and reducing the number of pages, the newspaper must concentrate on what's essential and original," explains the management in the document.
Understandably, this phrasing is a cause of concern for readers and editors (see also the case of the St. Petersburg Times' 'redesign').
Some desks will be merged or grouped together, more or less logically: op-ed columnists and journalists from the 'Debate' pages will be together, which makes sense, but the staffers from the 'And You' section will be merged with those of sports.
All staffers for the daily will now be requires to write for Le Monde 2, a weekly magazine published by the Le Monde group. "The stakes of Le Monde 2 are high. Its editorial success will depend both on a significant growth of Saturday circulation and advertising revenues," read the document.
Management's objective is to "offer a newspaper that's shorter and denser during the week, and toughened up during weekends." In other words, Le Monde is edging towards more of a weekly structure.
The 129 job cuts are detailed section by section: the Culture desk will lose six journalists and four freelancers. The merger of 'And You' and Sports will lead to seven layoffs.
Two staffers will be cut from the Business section, two journalists and an assistant from the literary supplement, and more. Foreign correspondents will also be affected.
In the newspaper's administrative positions, 40 layoffs are expected. Management expects to save €9.4 million thanks to these job cuts.
Management is also considering the outsourcing of its call center and to raise the daily's cover price. It also evokes the possibility of moving into cheaper premises.
What do you think of these 'solutions'?