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Huge challenges for Reuters in 2012 - Stephen Adler

Reuters faces enormous challenges in 2012 and beyond, editor-in-chief Stephen Adler said on Wednesday.

“We must accelerate our pursuit of journalistic excellence, with the understanding that our news is a central resource for Thomson Reuters that must serve all the company’s customers,” he said in an end-of-year message to editorial staff seen by The Baron.

“As we’ve discussed many times, winning in our highly competitive markets requires us to differentiate ourselves by offering more value – not just more of the same. We will succeed by providing a combination of smart, forward-looking news coverage, more exclusives, richer enterprise journalism, effective data mining, memorable story-telling, targeted community-building, trenchant commentary and analysis, and better designed, easier-to-navigate news delivery channels.”

Adler said: “Throughout the year, many of you have asked: How do we remain fast, accurate, and fair while also providing the depth and insight you keep talking about? How do we consider the needs of a broad customer base when we’ve been asked to focus more narrowly in the past? There’s no easy answer, so we will have to ask the right questions with each assignment. Sometimes the value of a story will come from chasing the news and reporting each incremental move. Sometimes it will come from stepping away from the day-to-day to develop a longer-term story that will ultimately benefit the reader more. Often we will need to operate on two tracks simultaneously, with some people focusing on immediate news and others looking beyond the moment to go deeper and help our coverage win not just the hour or day, but the week, month and year. All this requires judgment more than blanket rules, which is why we’ve tried to cut down on many of the edicts.”

Adler said Reuters moves into 2012 with extraordinary backing from the new corporate leadership, the same staunch support received from Tom Glocer and his team in 2011. “Tom’s commitment to excellence, and his clarion call that news is the heart and soul of the company, have brought us to this moment and helped us lay the groundwork for stronger performance in the coming months. We will now be led by incoming CEO Jim Smith, to whom I reported when he was running the professional businesses and I was working to integrate news into their products. Jim spent much of his career in Thomson newspapers and has a deep understanding of, and great passion for, journalism. I can tell you from personal experience that Jim will be an ardent advocate for news quality and editorial integrity. As you get to know him, you'll also find that he is an extraordinary leader who combines great business instincts and discipline with humor, warmth, and decency.

“Bottom line: I am optimistic, energized, and eager to embrace the opportunities ahead. Our goal today, as it was when I began the job, is to be the number-one news provider in the world. As before, I’m in favor of anything that gets us there and against anything that gets in the way.” ■