|Owner(s)||EBRA Group (BFSM)|
|Founded||5 May 1889|
|Headquarters||rue Théophraste-Renaudot, Houdemont, 54185 Heillecourt|
L'Est Républicain was established in 1889 by Léon Goulette, a French Republican. The newspaper was founded on the grounds of anti-Boulangisme. It was closed down in 1941 when France was under the German occupation during World War II. In 1946 it was restarted. The paper is headquartered in Nancy and has its primary market in the régions of Lorraine and Franche-Comté.
L'Est Républicain has a conservative stance. The paper belongs to Societe du Journal l'Est Republicain SA, who also owns the newspapers La Liberté de l'Est and Les Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace among others. The publisher of L'Est Républicain is Est Bourgogne Rhône Alpes.
The circulation of the daily was 180,000 copies in 2009.
1889-1914: Foundation and development
L'Est Républicain was founded in Nancy by Léon Goulette on May 5, 1889, day of the inauguration of the Exposition Universelle for which the Eiffel Tower was built. The first issue was printed in 1200 copies on four pages. The newspaper was then the sixth daily in the Nancy press, alongside the Journal de la Meurthe et des Vosges (1799), L'Espérance (1838) and L'Impartial. Sold for 5 cents, the newspaper had an anti-Boulangist and pro-Republican stance. It was red by many figures of Republican sensitivity, such as Jules Méline, Jules Ferry, Émile Gallé, Auguste Daum, Alfred Mézières, as well as political figures from Nancy and Lorraine. Its headquarters were then located in rue de Saint-Dizier in downtown Nancy.
On April 1, 1911, René Mercier took the head of the newspaper to replace Léon Goulette who suffered his anti-Dreyfusard position. Mercier opened an agency in Paris to collect political information and advertisements. The newspaper then generated enough profits to be self-financing. The premises having become too cramped, René Mercier bought land from the Compagnie de l'Est, at the corner of the Faubourg Saint-Jean. In March 1913, the editorial staff moved into a hotel designed by the French architect Pierre Le Bourgeois in the style of the École de Nancy. At the same time, the director bought a new press with a speed of 20,000 copies per hour, making it possible to increase the number of pages and editions without increasing the price.
In 1911, the circulation was 21,000 copies divided into three editions. The newspaper was modernized: new presentation, introduction of photographs, new sections on fashion, industry and agriculture, hiring of young journalists and numerous correspondents. The Est Républicain went through six editions, extending to neighboring departments: the Vosges and the Meuse. The newspaper then shifted rather to the left, while denouncing pacifists and antimilitarists, and supporting the action of the Lorraine-based Raymond Poincaré, President of the French Republic.
1914-1945: The journal during the two world wars
In 1914, following the outbreak of the First World War, the newspaper lost much of its staff. Located in a combat zone, it was victim of French military censorship. But it continued, nonetheless, to be published, sometimes on a single double-sided sheet. The newspaper helped maintain the morale of Nancy, especially during the Battle of Grand Couronné in 1914, and when it was considered to evacuate the city in 1918. On the night of 26 to February 27, 1918, the printing house was bombed, but the newspaper continued to continued to be distributed on one page.
In 1920, the printing amounted to 60,000 copies. In 1927, the newspaper was printed in 100,000 copies and extended its distribution to Haute-Saône and the Territoire de Belfort. In 1933, L'Est Républicain had offices in Bar-le-Duc, Verdun, Metz, Thionville, Épinal, Saint-Dié and Belfort.
Before World War II, L'Est Républicain held an anti-Nazi line. Paper restrictions and power cuts made it difficult for the newspaper to be published. On June 13, 1940, the newspaper was published for the last time. On June 14, as the Germans entered Paris, the newspaper was scuttled, just like its competitor, L'Éclair de l'Est, the next day. On June 18, the Germans enter Nancy, and on July 8, the authorities required the premises of L'Est Républicain.
As the region had then no written information, the editors of L'Est Républicain and L'Éclair de l'Est created the Nancy Presse newsletter which would be published until August 3, 1940. On August 2, 1940, the collaborationist journal L'Écho de Nancy published its first number. Totally controlled by the Germans, it defends Nazism, Adolf Hitler and advocated Antisemitism. The last issue printed on the installations of L'Est Républicain came out on September 1, 1944, but it continued to be printed in Germany until February 1945.
At the Liberation, the L'Est Républicain was requisitioned by the Resistance, which accused it of having collaborated with the Nazis. The resistance fighters print the République de l'Est Libéré. Finally, on October 8, 1944, L'Est Républicain is back with Jacques Zenner as editor 11 and several agencies, in Metz, Nancy, Besançon, Pontarlier, etc.
1945-1997: Resuming development
In 1951, the circulation reached 200,000 copies. The newspaper spread to Haute-Marne and Franche-Comté. In addition, a new edition was created for the Doubs with the opening of an office in Besançon.
In 1968, the newspaper signed a collaboration agreement with Le Journal de la Haute-Marne. Sales, writing and production services for the direction were pooled, while the results were split 50/50.
In 1977, a survey by the Center for the Study of Advertising Media (CESP) placed L'Est Républicain group in fourth place in the French daily press with 1,356,000 readers. In June 1979, the newspaper was building new premises in Houdemont, in the suburbs of Nancy. In 1985, all departments, except the local editorial office in Nancy, moved to the new premises.
Since 1982, all editions of L'Est Républicain were printed in offset. In 1983, Gérard Lignac, who had been administrator of the newspaper since 1966, became its president. In 1989, the newspaper celebrated its centenary by opening its doors to 15,000 readers.
On June 6, 1990, the newspaper launched a daily Braille edition, the first in Europe and the second in the world.
1997-2010: Establishment of the Republican group East
In May 1997, L'Est Républicain became the majority shareholder of the Les Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace, based in Strasbourg, by buying back the shares of Banque Vernes for 250 million francs. At the same time, the group sold the newspapers L'Est-Éclair and Libération Champagne to the France-Antilles group, which also owns 27% of L'Est Républicain.
In October 1999, L'Est Républicain took control of its competitor La Liberté de l'Est, thus strengthening its influence in eastern France. On October 26, Christophe de Beco, nephew of CEO Gérard Lignac, was appointed managing director of L'Est Républicain.
In February 2006, Est Républicain or France Est Médias group buys the Rhône-Alpes division from Socpresse for €270 million (Le Progrès, Le Dauphiné libéré, Le Bien public, Le Journal de Saône-et-Loire) with the financial support from the Banque federative du Crédit Mutuel (BFCM). The new entity formed is the EBRA group, 51% owned by the Est Républicain group and 49% by Crédit Mutuel.
On September 23, 2006, L'Est Républicain reveals a confidential-defense note from the DGSE indicating that the Saudi secret services are convinced that Osama bin Laden died August 23, 2006 of a typhoid fever attack. The information is not confirmed by France and the United States.
In June 2008, Crédit Mutuel acquired the company France Est, which holds 18% of the capital of the Est Républicain group, which itself holds 51% of the EBRA group. Crédit Mutuel thus became the majority shareholder of the EBRA group. Hoever, the Hersant Media group, a minority shareholder of the Est Républicain group, asked for the cancellation of this takeover which reduced its share from 27% to 17%, dispossessing it of its blocking minority. The Nancy commercial court ruled in his favor on December 23, 2008 and the Nancy Court of Appeal confirmed the sentence on June 17, 2009.
On February 23, 2010, L'Est Républicain changed looks with a new logo, a new format (large format increased from 8 to 7 columns), a new layout, and a new editorial project. The newspaper was structured around three pillars: proximity to events, decryption of current events and investigation; and divided in five spaces: Town and local, Region, Sports, France-World, East and vous (everyday life). The cost of this change was 2 million euros.
Acquisition by Crédit Mutuel
In October 2010, the Banque federative du Crédit Mutuel (BFCM) bought the 29% held by the Hersant Media group in the Est Républicain group. Already owner of a share of the capital, it now owned 48% of the Eastern Republican group. The following month, it bought 43% of shares of CEO Gérard Lignac and thus took control of the group, which was integrated into the EBRA group. On July 12, 2011, the Autorité de la concurrence authorized the takeover of the Est Républicain group by Crédit Mutuel. In October 2011, Pierre Wicker became the joint general manager of L'Est Républicain, Le Républicain Lorrain and Vosges Matin.
On October 1, 2013, the Franche-Comté daily Le Pays, owned by L'Alsace, was sold to L'Est Républicain. It was a question of putting an end to a "sterile and unproductive" competition between the two titles, properties of the EBRA group. The 40 employees of Le Pays joined the 73 journalists of L'Est Républicain in Franche-Comté, and an edition of L'Est Républicain-Le Pays was produced.
On November 16, 2016, a new tabloid format was created. The 64-page journal is divided into two notebooks: one general and one local. This new format required 9 months to be completed and cost € 500,000 to adapt the presses. The newspaper then employed 650 people and achieved a turnover of nearly 81 million euros. A new version of the website was planned for January 2017.
The first headquarters of L'Est Républicain were located on rue Saint-Dizier, in the city center of Nancy.
In March 1913, the head office was transferred to a building located at the corner of avenue Foch and boulevard Joffre, opposite the Magasins Réunis, not far from the station. It was designed by the French architect Pierre Le Bourgeois in the style of the École de Nancy, close to Art Nouveau. An underground used to connect this building to the one where the presses and linotypes were located and which was located a few dozen meters away, at the corner of the place Thiers and rue Mazagran.
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- L'Est Républicain website (in French)