In order to find a business model that works, Le Monde is being sold to a purveyor of porn. Meet the Rupert Murdoch of France:
The journalists of Le Monde, the most prestigious French-language publication in the world, have contemptuously defeated an attempt by President Nicolas Sarkozy to intervene in the sale of their struggling newspaper.
As a result, Le Monde, once known for its uncompromising austerity, will today fall into the hands of the former romantic and business partner of Yves Saint-Laurent and a radical, self-made billionaire who founded his fortune on internet pornography, chat lines and peep shows.
Le Monde's journalists, who have controlled the newspaper for almost half a century, voted by over 90 per cent to accept the majority ownership bid of a consortium headed by Pierre Bergé, 81, the retired fashion impresario, and Xavier Niel, 42, one of France's most successful, and controversial, internet entrepreneurs.
Le Monde has, apparently, been "dumbed down" in order to appear less ponderous and to appeal to a more "online" audience that likes images, simplicity, shorter stories, and, of course, hot women.
Does this work? Does it really matter if a major world publication decides to adopt a leaner look? I think that there is no question--news outlets have to be able to switch to a more online-friendly format. There's no use lamenting the text-only days of broadsheets when there's no chance that maintaining a newspaper format and staying in business.
I hate to see something dumbed down, though. I value content above most other things, and a little esoterica and academic research mixed in with my news and opinion works wonders. I think that that business model works for small niche services but can't work for a major publication trying to garner millions of page views and hits.
And it's nice to see that those of us who purvey porn can be accepted. We just want to be loved. I need to be loved. My safe for work hotties are all that comforts me sometimes.