Some of the public reports have suggested that the credibility of PC World editorial is in question and that directions were issued to give favorable coverage to advertisers or to present information in a way that favored specific advertisers.
The reports are not accurate. IDG and I hold editorial integrity in the highest regard. PC World, has not been nor will it be influenced by advisers’ pressure. Independent and trusted editorial is at the heart of everything we do. Serving our readership with fair and unbiased content comes first.
We have and will continue to run editorial and content that both praises and criticizes as appropriate without regard to the vendor relationship.
There is no shift in editorial policy at PC World, editorial integrity remains a core value and this will not change.
The news reports are from multiple sources and appear credible. To simply deny them with a handful of platitudes and not provide a response that contains substance is an insult to your readership.
Apparently, it’s also untrue. Read this update from Kim Zetter at Wired News, which pretty much confirms that the magazine is completely out of control:
After I posted this update I got wind that CEO Colin Crawford was in the midst of a staff meeting that he convened to address the controversy over McCracken’s sudden exit. …
“What it really comes down to,” the source added, “is that Harry wanted autonomy over the editorial content, and Colin is usurping that. Harry always served as a buffer between the business side and the rest of the editors and that’s gone now.”
With regard to whether or not Crawford addressed the issue of asking editors to tone down their negative reviews of vendors, the source said, “He denided that he would ever ask editors to tone down the coverage, but at the same time he said he wants the marketing people to have input on our processes.”
The meeting, which lasted 1 hour and 20 minutes, was ultimately cut short as staff members continued to pepper Crawford with questions. The last question a staff member asked was, will this happen again? Will the next editor-in-chief have last-call on what goes in the magazine or will Crawford, essentially, always be asserting his rank over editors?
“And the answer was no, I’m going to have last call,” the source said Crawford told them. “The response, essentially, was that the same damn thing would happen again (if someone clashed with him).”
I hate stories based on input from a single anonymous source, but in this case the reporting aligns with the facts, which is that a guy who has been editor-in-chief for 13 years resigns with no notice. That’s not the way you settle a disagreement over long-term direction, that’s a hostile takeover. I feel sorry for whoever steps into this job. I’ve worked for guys like this before. It never ends well.