Disappearance of Fabrice Nora, a newspaper lover

March 3, 2018 by No Comments


Fabrice Nora was a good guy, and a real press man. Of the many titles he directed, he was the pillar, discreet but essential. Of these newspapers he loved so much, he knew everything. The mysteries of manufacturing, economic imperatives, advertising constraints, the subtleties of negotiations with social partners.

Because it was less the prestige of the editorial that interested him, than the management requirements, the control of production, presses, paper purchases, distribution, all this complex chain, which imposes unfailing rigor and a lot of skill. For more than thirty years, he has accompanied, developed and directed the biggest titles in the French press, alongside Claude Perdriel, (founder of the Obs) first, then in the Amaury group (L’Equipe, Le Parisien), or Europe 1 or Le Monde, where he participated in the creation of Magazine M.

Nothing predisposed him to devote himself as he will have done all his life to the press. A graduate of the Center for the Study of Advanced Systems and Technologies (Cesta) then of the Center de perfectionnement aux affaires de Paris (CPA), he discovered press management at Fraternité Matin, in Côte d’Ivoire, during his military service in cooperation. It was with the newspaper Le Sauvage, the ephemeral green title of the newly created Le Nouvel Observateur group, that he made his debut in the mid-1970s.

His love for newspapers will never be denied. When Perdriel launched the left-wing daily Le Matin de Paris, Fabrice Nora was naturally on the front line. It is he who will find the emblematic premises of the rue Hérold, in Paris. Then there will be the presidential election of François Mitterrand, of which he will print – in 10 million copies! – the campaign newspaper, a passage to Europe 1, so many other titles, of which this great professional will become administrator… Yes, Fabrice Nora will have marked the history of the French press.

Son of the high official Simon Nora, eldest of a family of five children – including the editor of Grasset Olivier Nora and the editorial director of the Obs Dominique Nora this great professional was sporty and brilliant, charming and funny, deeply attached to his family. A “mensch”, a good guy, in Yiddish, his people say about him. All those who knew him remember his straightforwardness, his immense kindness, his humor, but also his great determination. He died on October 10 from leukemia. The entire Obs team sends their sincere thoughts to their family and loved ones.

Some of his collaborators here paid tribute to him:

“A great press director”

Fabrice Nora began a long time ago at l’Observateur by my side then at Le Matin.

He contributed a lot to the development and the success of the beginnings. He was a great press director, with flawless moral and professional rigor.

Then he played an important role at Parisien Libéré and Le Monde. He was a warm human being, respected by the entire profession. His disappearance is irreplaceable and very sad.

Claude Perdriel

“A courageous, proud and wise man”

A long time ago, one morning in rue d’Aboukir on the 2nd floor, Claude Perdriel announced the arrival of a new adventure companion Fabrice Nora. As soon as he arrived we found him (“We the three musketeers” : Dominique Roussel, Jean-Claude Rossignol and me Bernard Villeneuve) very serious and imbued with the importance of the responsibilities which were to become his at the Nouvel Observateur and which have become more and more important over the years.

Le Nouvel Observateur, Le Sauvage and all the activities that Claude Perdriel will create to bring floats to the newspaper. My office was next to Claude Perdriel’s and Fabrice and Jean-Claude Rossignol’s, opposite. Well surrounded, Claude left his office to announce new ideas to us and it was often Fabrice that the realization of the project fell.

Fabrice squared off and provided solutions while courageously highlighting all the problems to be solved and the associated difficulties. Very quickly his tasks became multiple and very heavy. Very serene, he accepted them and carried them valiantly.

The first image I keep of Fabrice is that of the first evening of his visit to the Nouvel Observateur. I take him back to the bottom of the office and see him riding a rather improbable yellow moped and Fabrice, delighted, tells me that it is a postman’s vehicle, bought second-hand from the Post Office. Smiling, I watched Fabrice leave to join Zabo (Elisabeth, his wife) already near him.

From that first day, I knew that Fabrice would become a real press boss and would certainly be at the head of one of the very first daily newspapers in France and of a powerful and respected group, which has come true. Our relations have never been interrupted and I have been able to continue to see Fabrice in the context of his professional and also and above all personal activities, his human qualities have always impressed me.

Fabrice loved people and life. We had lunch at the Closerie des Lilas and went to have coffee at his place, in his expensive apartment which overlooks the Luxembourg gardens and which he loved since, another quality, it was that of his father, Simon Nora.

We his friends, we loved to love him, to see him and wish the best for him. Fabrice, a courageous, proud and wise man who understood the “Things of life” long before us. He does not leave us, he is in our hearts.

Bernard Villeneuve

“Always simple and warm”

I have such fond memories of Fabrice during the wonderful Paris Morning adventure launched by Claude Perdriel. He was very young then, like many of us who were not yet thirty. We were like a family, there was no hierarchical relationship between us, but simply a happy bond.

Fabrice did not give himself importance, remained discreet in the midst of this passionate and affective writing, and in addition he was faithful. It was a real pleasure to find him again during different morning celebrations, always simple and warm, not forgetting any of us, as if we had parted the day before, as if these few decades, which Those years when each had followed his own path had passed and had not changed the ties that had united us.

Jacqueline de Linarès

“An attentive, benevolent leader”

In the long and rich career of Fabrice Nora, at each stage of this exemplary career as a leader of the French press, there has always been a moment, I am sure, when Fabrice remembered, to inspire, from his years (77-82) as assistant to the management of the Nouvel Observateur. It is perhaps there, with Claude Perdriel and Bernard Villeneuve, that he learned the most about the management of press companies, the business of bankers, and the management of improbable deadlines. Few journalists were aware at the time to what extent this profession of press editor required – already – the talents of everyday magicians. Fabrice quickly knew how to transform himself, sometimes into a balancing act of the operating account. A discreet and modest craftsman who was satisfied with a smile to evacuate the chapter of complicated affairs.

He thus made his classes between the rue d’Aboukir and the rue Hérold and some of the main groups of the French press, from Amaury to the World through Europe 1, then benefited from these formative years.

Fabrice was throughout his career what he was in his beginnings: a comrade and then an attentive, benevolent leader and always concerned with this distance of which those who know how to put worries and moods in their true place are capable. The kind of person our time is starting to lack.

Vincent Lalu

“Loyalty itself”

Fabrice was fidelity itself, but even more, with this air of not touching it, this capacity to help, to transmit, to make the short scale to those who do not know and wish to learn. He was my very first chef, the one who introduced me to Le Sauvage, in the Nouvel Observateur group, but above all the one who taught me the basics of the profession and the essential for anyone aspiring to a career in such a special world. of the press. It was he who encouraged me to join Le Matin de Paris, where I still learned a lot. Fabrice was there, always there, always in a good mood, attentive, considerate and discreet, which is not the least of his qualities. Maybe the only one that matters.

Martine Kreder-Heimermann



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