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Computerized Investing > May/June 2007

Editor's Outlook

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by Wayne A. Thorp, CFA

When "Journalistic Integrity" and Advertising Collide

A story that has gained a lot of traction in recent weeks, especially in tech circles, is that of the resignation of PC World Editor-in-Chief Harry McCracken. The specifics of McCracken’s resignation are in dispute, but the intrigue behind the story has piqued the interest of many conspiracy theorists. It also highlights the balancing act many publications face: Editors and writers wish to maintain journalistic integrity while publishers (print especially) try to wring as much as possible from an evaporating advertising revenue stream.

Here is some background: Wired News was the first to report that McCracken stepped down after Colin Crawford, senior vice president, online, of the magazine’s publisher IDG Communications, killed a draft story entitled “Ten Things We Hate About Apple.” Furthermore, anonymous sources told CNET that when McCracken informed staffers of his resignation, he cited alleged pressure from Crawford to avoid stories that were critical of major advertisers. Wired News further reported that, upon reaching him for comment, McCracken said that he quit because of “some fundamental differences with Colin.” Interestingly, he also said that he anticipates doing freelance writing for PC World in the future.

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