Le Monde (; English: The World) is a French daily evening newspaper founded by Hubert Beuve-Méry and continuously published in Paris since its first edition on 19 December 1944. It is one of two French newspapers of record along with Le Figaro, and the main publication of La Vie-Le Monde Group. It reports an average circulation of 323,039 copies per issue in 2009, about 40,000 of which are sold abroad. It has been available on the Internet since 19 December 1995, and is often the only French newspaper easily obtainable in non-French-speaking countries. It should not be confused with the monthly publication Le Monde diplomatique, of which Le Monde has 51% ownership, but which is editorially independent.
The paper's journalistic side has a collegial form of organization, in which most journalists are not only tenured, but financial stakeholders in the enterprise as well, and participate in the elections of upper management and senior executives. In the 1990s and 2000s, La Vie-Le Monde Group expanded under editor Jean-Marie Colombani with a number of acquisitions. However, its profitability was not sufficient to cover the large debt loads it took on to fund this expansion, and it has sought new investors in 2010 to keep the company out of bankruptcy. It has been suggested that a condition for a bailout might be the loss of Le Monde's famous control by its own journalists. In June 2010, investors Matthieu Pigasse, Pierre Bergé, and Xavier Niel acquired a controlling stake in the newspaper.
In contrast to other world newspapers such as The New York Times, Le Monde was traditionally focused on offering analysis and opinion, as opposed to being a newspaper of record. Hence, it was considered less important for the paper to cover "all the news that's fit to print" (the motto of The New York Times) than to offer thoughtful interpretation of current events. For instance, on the 10th anniversary of the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior, the newspaper directly implicated François Mitterrand, who was president at the time, in the operation. In recent years, however, the paper has established a greater distinction between fact and opinion.
The current chief editor (rédacteur en chef) is Erik Izraelewicz. Plantu is one of several political cartoonists who contribute to the paper, and his work is often featured on the front page above the fold.