From Red ink threatens voice of French left, Elizabeth Bryant, Washington Times, October 7, 2006:
PARIS -- Spawned during the heady days of the country's 1968 student riots, France's iconic, Maoist-rooted Liberation newspaper faces an ignominious demise at the hands of the corporate bottom line.
The brainchild of philosopher and writer Jean-Paul Sartre, Liberation rose to become the leftist newspaper of record for tens of thousands of students, intellectuals and union firebrands in a country where much of the press has a political slant.
Today, its readership has plummeted, its debts are mounting and its chances of survival are dimming rapidly.
Last week, Liberation's boss, businessman Eduard Rothschild of the famed banking family, gave a special steering committee until Oct. 18 to find ways to reverse the paper's sliding fortunes, which include an estimated $16.5 million loss this year alone.
Liberation's staff members fear a drastic bloodletting as Mr. Rothschild, who bought a commanding 39 percent stake in the newspaper last year, tries to turn the struggling daily into a moneymaking enterprise...
Several top people have already either been shown the door or have found it on their own.
Bryant reports that newspapers in general are having a tough time right now. I knew that, but I found this consequence surprising (although I probably shouldn't have, if I'd stopped to think about it):
In Germany, he [Marc Gruber, co-director of the Brussels-based International Federation of Journalists] said, half of the country's reporters are freelancers, an indication of the growing precariousness of the profession...