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New Thomson Reuters CEO backs editorial hiring plans - Stephen Adler

Thomson Reuters' new chief executive James Smith supports Reuters' editorial growth strategy, Stephen Adler, editor-in-chief, said and will not curtail his hiring spree.

“We’re full speed ahead,” Adler told The Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch website.

Some media analysts aren’t quite so sure, columnist Jon Friedman said. They suggest that Smith’s promotion as replacement for CEO Tom Glocer signifies the company’s desire to undercut Adler’s go-go spending ways. They believe that Thomson Reuters’ challenges will force Adler, appointed to the top editorial job in February, to curtail the big spending and eventually shrink the size of his staff.

Friedman said Adler couldn’t have sounded more confident that Smith, who takes over on 1 January, will continue to have “an extraordinary commitment” to Adler’s strategy of investing heavily to strengthen its commitment to enterprise reporting and to recruit journalists such as the WSJ’s Michael Williams and Bloomberg television executive Dan Colarusso.

“Adler said he, too, has heard the whispers from Thomson Reuters’ critics but declared: ‘This doesn’t change anything’,” Friedman wrote.

“What’s also not likely to change is the industry’s confusion about what Adler wants to accomplish,” Friedman wrote. “Does he want his operation to be true to its roots as a British-based wire service that reports doggedly on financial markets or a gleaming long-form journalism operation that wants to be known for its enterprise and investigative reporting? Can Adler make both sides co-exist?”

Adler has tried hard to change the culture of Reuters by wooing a plethora of non-wire-service journalists, Friedman said. “He is betting that he can maintain a strong position in the meat-and-potatoes work of covering the financial markets while making a name for Reuters in enterprise writing.

“In his first year, Adler and his team have succeeded in changing the company’s rather stodgy image. Now, they must find a way to continue the momentum at a time when the world at large expects him to rein in his growth plans.” ■