Le Monde, the largest newspaper in France is resisting modernizing their digital presence and has driven away editor Natalie Nougayrède. She had been working for the paper for over 14 months and her staff basically revolted over her mandate to redesign the newspaper and their line of apps. The deciding factor that contributed to her demise was the transferring of more than 50 staff members from the print newspaper to the digital operation.
In order to be elected to an Editor at Le Monde, there is a general vote by the newsroom. All of the journalists cast their ballot on who would do the best job at editor of the entire paper. The prevailing sentiment at Le Monde was that of a true democracy and Natalie’s heavy handed approach lost the support of the average journalist. She was mandating approaches instead of consulting with her editorial staff. Needless to say the editors did not like being told what to do and eight of them wrote a letter to the owners saying that they would all resign.
Newspaper journalists in France see themselves having more prestidge over their stories being included in the print edition. Moving seasoned veterans into the digital arena was seen as a downgrade. They do not want to be put on the same level as blogger, when they break exclusive worldwide stories.
Le Monde was one of the early adopters of Digital, but their overall strategy and apps are hopelessly out of date. The New York Times is a solid innovator with numerous free apps that give you quality journalistic content from the papers, curated for specific audiences. There are over 8 apps from the Times listed on Google Play, including short form, long form and exclusive videos. All of these niche products widens their reach and can turn a casual audience into paid subscribers.
Natalie Nougayrède left the paper because most of the staff did not want to write for the digital platform. “It is a crisis linked to the growth of digital in a traditional company of the written press,” said Alain Frachon, a former senior editor of Le Monde. “And on top of that, there is strong discontent.”