New French daily L’Opinion to launch

Combining the influence of paper and audience of the internet, new French daily paper and news site L’Opinion will be “liberal, pro-business, and pro-European.”

by WAN-IFRA Staff | April 9, 2013

In an interview with Le Monde Nicolas Beytout, former editor of Le Figaro and Les Echoes, says his paper will “make information and analysis, defend and confront opinions, create a product that has a precise editorial policy.”

Judging from the title, the paper will be partisan. “What is weak or neutral is struggling to emerge from the mass of information,” Beytout told Le Monde.

With a shaky press industry in France, Beytout is certain digital/print model will be successful. In the interview he put a strong focus on the digital aspect, describing the news outlet as “a digital media, with a print extension.” However, he is clear that he believes digital-only wouldn’t be successful from a financial point of view.

“My idea is to marry the internet, its innovation, its audience…with the power of paper. A media brand must have two legs, Internet and the paper. I cannot make this project work by doing this project differently to others.”

He also wants to streamline the newsroom, saying that traditionally, newsrooms are too ‘heavy.’ “The layout will be automatic and there will be no copy editors, only a chief editor. The newsroom will be entirely focused on content production. There will be 39 employees, including 30 journalists.” Of those 30 are many well-established French journalists, including Ludovic Vigogne of Paris Match.

Beytout mentions that L’Opinion is the first mainstream daily to emerge since Info Matin launched twenty years ago.

L’Opinion is being called the “Mediapart of the right” Mediapart is famous in France for its scoops, having recently uncovered a scandal involving budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac. Beytout acknowledges a common thread between the two, but says his paper will be less sensationalized.

“We will not be in a race for readers. We want to establish a brand and charge for information. The big difference is that Mediapart creates its news, while we cover the news.”

Beytout says he modeled L’Opinion after Italian daily Il Foglio and American politics publication Politico. He has raised approximately €12 million to finance the project, with Bernard Arnault of LVMH reportedly one of the investors. The paper will be launched in mid-May.

Read the Le Monde interview with Beytout (in French) here

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