Le Monde

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Le Monde (French pronunciation: [lə mɔ̃d]; English: The World) is a French daily evening newspaper owned by La Vie-Le Monde Group and edited in Paris. It is considered the French newspaper of record, and has generally been well respected since its first edition under founder Hubert Beuve-Méry on 19 December 1944. It was founded at the request of General Charles de Gaulle after the German army was driven from Paris during World War II, and took over the headquarters and layout of Le Temps, which was the most important newspaper in France before but whose reputation had suffered during the Occupation.[2] Beuve-Méry reportedly demanded total editorial independence as the condition for his taking on the project.

Le Monde is the principal publication of La Vie-Le Monde Group. It should not be confused with the monthly publication Le Monde diplomatique, of which Le Monde has 51% ownership, but which is editorially independent. It reports an average circulation of 323,039 copies per issue in 2009, about 40,000 of which are sold abroad. It has been available on the Internet since 19 December 1995, and is often the only French newspaper easily obtainable in non-French-speaking countries. Its current chief editor (rédacteur en chef) is Sylvie Kauffmann. Plantu is one of several political cartoonists who contribute to the paper, and his work is often featured on the front page above the fold.

In the 1990s and 2000s, La Vie-Le Monde Group expanded under editor Jean-Marie Colombani with a number of acquisitions. However, its profitability was not sufficient to cover the large debt loads it took on to fund this expansion, and it has sought new investors in 2010 to keep the company out of bankruptcy. It has been suggested that a condition for a bailout might be the loss of Le Monde's famous control by its own journalists.[3] In June 2010, investors Matthieu Pigasse, Pierre Bergé, and Xavier Niel acquired a controlling stake in the newspaper.[4] In December, it was reported that after conflicts with the new investors, board chairman and director of publication Éric Fottorino would depart.[5]

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