02 March, 2014

The Courrier de l'Ouest editors worry about the future of their newspaper

Les journalistes du Courrier de l'Ouest, quotidien angevin propriété, depuis 2005, de son concurrent Ouest-France, s'inquiètent de l'avenir que leur maison mère réserve à leur titre. Ils contestent en particulier la ligne éditoriale qui leur est imposée et qui se traduit par une importance accrue donnée aux faits divers ainsi qu'à une distanciation avec l'information locale. A travers leur syndicat, ils dénoncent une gestion des ressources humaines "désastreuse".

Le Courrier de l'Ouest editors are in trouble. About 80% of them signed at the end of February a disapproval motion against the decision-makers of the Angers daily own, since 2005, by his rival, Ouest-France, the most important French daily newspaper. "The [Courrier de l'Ouest] editors come also to examine the contribution of [their] title to the [Ouest-France] group. And the future that one reserves to Le Courrier de l'Ouest". In particularly, the signatories blame the editorial policy of the newspaper : "disproportionate treatment of news items, overvaluation of anecdotal topics, exacerbation of anxiety-producing visions. One can add a rampant desertion of what remains our favorite field : local information".

The press release suggests that the Ouest-France group, few by few, would be attempting to marginalize the in terms of resources. "If the yearly accounts show some stability of the turnover for eight years around € 45 millions. In the same time substancial savings have been made on human resources expenses. Eighty jobs, a fourth of the workforce, have disappeared, representing at least € 5 millions in annual wages". The Syndicat national des journalistes, the editors trade union, lament that their most aged colleagues will not be replaced once retired and that historical local executives of the Courrier have been put aside from main responsible positions : "The human resources management is a disaster", they say.

If such an evolution should go on, the damages for Angers would be double. First in the economic field because, the Courrier de l'Ouest is one of the most important private companies of Maine-et-Loire. But, also, in the political field : loss of pluralism (The Courrier de l'Ouest was, for a long time considered conservative face to Ouest-France, rather labour supporter) and above all weakening of an Angers historical voice in Western France.

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