It is a state of “stunned” What do journalists describe? Caledonian News, the last issue of which is due out on Thursday, March 16. The management announced to them a week ago that they had requested the liquidation of the title, after a long shipwreck, which will have already seen the paper edition disappear on 1er January, in favor of a 100% digital formula.
The decision of the Mixed Commercial Court of Nouméa, expected Thursday morning, is hardly in doubt, no buyer having come forward. “It is a monument that is collapsing”launches a reader met Wednesday, March 15 in front of the newspaper’s headquarters, while the journalists, fatalists, work on their latest issue, while moving archives and personal effects.
Born in 1971 and without ever having encountered real competition since then, Caledonian News had been bought out by the Melchior group, regrouping only local interests, from the Hersant group, in 2013. Since then, according to the management, all the financial years have been loss-making, which has led to a plan to safeguard employment, in 2021.
“Despite this plan and all the actions implemented over the years, neither the Melchior group nor Caledonian News could not find an economically viable model and identify avenues for sustainable recovery”, specify the direction of Caledonian News in a press release.
Switching to all-digital
A fatalism questioned by the editorial staff. “Management and shareholders feel they have done everything to save the country’s only daily. The Society of Journalists [SDJ]for its part, deplores numerous strategic errors,” underlines Claire Gaveau, journalist and president of the SDJ.
The transition to all-digital, against a backdrop of a vertiginous rise in the price of paper, took place in December 2022 without being accompanied by a dedicated application, or the renewal of the website, worrying the journalists who had then walked out. THE ” waypoint “ planned three months later turned into a rout: “ The mutation should have been anticipated, regrets Thierry Kremer, union delegate. We have neither given the means nor given the chance for the digital format to take hold. However, we need a daily newspaper more than ever. »
The Society of Journalists of “New Caledonian” denounces as much the errors of management of the shareholders as “the quasi-indifference of the politicians and the institutions”
After three self-determination referendums, New Caledonia is indeed engaged in a process of discussions between separatists and non-separatists which should lead to a new status for the territory. Nouvelle-Calédonie Première, a subsidiary of France Télévisions, Caledonia, a private television channel, and two weeklies will provide coverage.
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