(Reuters) – Stephen J. Adler, Reuters editor-in-chief for the past decade, said he would retire from the world’s largest international news provider on April 1st.
The search for his successor will begin in the next few days, Reuters chief executive Michael Friedenberg said Wednesday in a note to Reuters staff.
During his tenure, Adler expanded the reach and ambition of Reuters’ news offerings, introducing innovations across multiple platforms to serve the news agency’s financial, media and professional clients.
The journalism he advocated – both quick and in-depth impartial and courageous reporting – won global acclaim and hundreds of journalism awards, including seven Pulitzer Prizes.
“We reported the news with speed, accuracy, fairness and insight in every medium. We have provided unique value to our clients, told the truth in power, and made the world a better place with our factual and fearless journalism, ”Adler said in an editorial memo Wednesday, announcing his retirement.
Adler, 65, has led the Reuters editorial team through years of financial pressure and ever-increasing dangers to journalists around the world.
In 2017, two Reuters journalists in Myanmar were arrested and sentenced to seven years in prison. The journalists, who were working on an investigation into the killing of 10 Rohingya Muslim men and boys by security forces and Buddhist civilians, were arrested, arrested and spent more than 500 days behind bars before being released. .
Adler publicly supported their release, appearing at the United Nations in 2018 with international human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, who was being held by Reuters for defending journalists.
Just this week, a Reuters cameraman in Ethiopia was released after police detained him for 12 days without charge.
“Steve has always had journalists at heart,” Friedenberg said. “He worked tirelessly to ensure the freedom of journalists in custody or threatened.”
The Reuters CEO added that Adler oversaw stricter safety standards for journalists, including improved hostile environment training and new mental health programs.
Steve Hasker, president and CEO of Thomson Reuters, which owns Reuters, praised Adler as a “tireless advocate of independent journalism and an advocate of press freedom and media literacy.”
Adler also drew attention when he called for an impartial approach to US political coverage during the early days of the Trump presidency. In a February 2017 note, titled “Covering Trump the Reuters Way,” Adler instructed Reuters reporters to “operate with calm integrity,” practicing the same “fearless and impartial” journalism that allowed the news agency to operate. in more than 200 locations around the world. world.
“So what’s the Reuters response? Oppose the administration? To appease him? Boycott his briefings? Use our platform to gather media support? All of these ideas are out there and may be suitable for some news operations, but they don’t make sense to Reuters, ”Adler wrote.
The memo was posted on Reuters.com and was viewed more than 720,000 times. reut.rs/38ZpCXa
FREEDOM OF THE PRESS
A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, Adler began journalism for local newspapers in Florida. He was one of the best editors of The American Lawyer from From 1983 to 1988, before joining the Wall Street Journal, where he held a number of positions, including managing investigative teams and overseeing the online edition of the newspaper.
He was Editor in Chief of BusinessWeek before joining Thomson Reuters in 2010 as Senior Vice President and Editorial Director of the company’s Professional Division. He became editor-in-chief of Reuters the following year.
Reuters supplies other news organizations and financial clients around the world and its videos, text, images and graphics reach billions of people every day.
Although Reuters has a diversified business model, it has not been immune from the cost constraints felt across the industry. In 2013, Reuters employed around 3,000 journalists. The editorial staff now numbers 2,500. In 2013, Reuters closed its digital initiative, Reuters Next, and last year it closed its Reuters TV direct-to-consumer television app after five years.
Reuters gained a significant measure of financial security in 2018, with a 30-year, $ 325 million-a-year deal to deliver news to Refinitiv, the financial information provider formed after Thomson Reuters’ sale of a stake in majority in its former Financial & Risk business to a group led by the private equity firm Blackstone Group LP. The deal made Refinitiv Reuters’ largest single customer.
In the year following the close of the deal, Reuters reported that Refinitiv consented to the pressure from the Chinese government is blocked from from its terminals in mainland China more than 200 Reuters articles that could be seen as critical of Beijing.
Adler and Friedenberg have publicly criticized Refinitiv for the decision.
The London Stock Exchange has agreed to buy Refinitiv for $ 27 billion in a deal that is expected to close in the first quarter of this year.
In his memo announcing his retirement, Adler said he plans to write and teach. He will also continue his roles with advocacy groups such as the Press Freedom Reporters Committee, which he chairs, and the Journalist Protection Committee. He advised colleagues to support the Trust Principles, a set of standards adopted in 1941 that continue to define the way the 170-year-old Reuters operates.
“If I have any advice,” he said, “it is to remain true to the principles of trust and to preserve our ultimate commitment to integrity, independence and freedom. from prejudices. “
Editing by Amy Stevens and Nick Tattersall