Seven of the 11 senior editors at Le Monde, one of France’s newspapers of record, resigned en masse on Tuesday over a conflict with management, according to reports. A center-left daily founded in 1944, Le Monde was one of the leading papers in the coverage of Edward Snowden’s revelations.
“A lack of confidence in and communication with editorial management prevents us from fulfilling our roles as chief editors,” the editors wrote in a letter to management.
“We have realized that we are no longer able to assume the tasks entrusted to us, and that’s why we are resigning from our respective posts,” the editors wrote. They also said that they would continue working to keep the paper running smoothly until a new team was appointed but would then take up other positions.
The mass resignation is simply the latest crisis to hit the troubled paper.
In February, Le Monde’s management announced plans to combine the paper’s print and Web staff, affecting nearly 60 jobs. Staff complained that they had not been consulted and were worried by news that employees who refused the new positions they were offered would be laid off.
Reporters were also concerned about the seeming lack of direction in the paper’s digital strategy. With a circulation of approximately 330,000 last year, Le Monde lags behind its rightwing rival Le Figaro. Production had begun on an evening edition of Le Monde specifically tailored for tablets and mobile phones, but management shelved the plans without explanation.
Many commentators are interpreting the editors’ resignation as a revolt against the paper’s managing editor, Natalie Nougayrède.
Nougayrède, the first woman to run the paper, was voted into her position by Le Monde’s journalists last March with an unprecedented 80 percent share of the vote. Although a respected diplomatic correspondent, Nougayrède had never held any editorial or management position at the paper before her appointment. Staff are now complaining that she is difficult to talk to and doesn’t listen to them.
Le Monde is the second French journalism institution to be rocked by crisis in as many months. The editor in chief of leftwing newspaper Libération quit the publication in February after staff vehemently rejected his plans for restructuring the paper.