Trouble at Le Monde

GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

PAPER OVER? Plenel's resignation comes amid persistent charges that he ran the eminent Parisian daily as a political favor bank; its future leadership will face a tough financial battle

Journalists at Le Monde felt both relief and deep uncertainty when they learned by e-mail last week that editor in chief Edwy Plenel was resigning. Plenel said he wanted "to return to the simple joys of journalism and writing." But the reporters knew better, because in the French newspaper business these days there is little joy and nothing is simple — especially the story behind Plenel's departure.

Plenel's resignation came as no shock. It was just the latest sign of the utter disarray at France's most prestigious daily. Recent books and news reports have alleged gaping financial...

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