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PC World editor quits during dispute over Apple story

post #1 of 82
Thread Starter 
The Editor-in-Chief of PC World, Harry McCracken, quit the magazine abruptly on Wednesday after the company's new chief executive, Colin Crawford, tried to kill a story about Apple and Steve Jobs.

The piece, which Wired describes as a whimsical article titled "Ten Things We Hate About Apple," was reportedly still in draft form when Crawford axed it.

"It was supposed to be light fare, just really innocuous stuff," the tech publication quoted a source as saying. "The same kinds of things people have said about Apple before -- things that teased Steve Jobs."

Since his arrival at PC World about a month ago, Crawford -- a former CEO of Macworld -- is also reported to have told editors that product reviews in the magazine were too critical of vendors, especially ones who advertise in the magazine, and that they had to start being nicer to advertisers.

When reached on his cell phone, McCracken failed to reveal the specifics of why he resigned but said he quit "because of some fundamental disagreements with [Crawford]."

Sources at PC World told Wired that Crawford refused to compromise on the Apple story, at which point McCracken said "no way" and walked out. Those same sources added that when Crawford was working for the Macworld, Jobs would call him up any time he had a problem with a story the magazine was about to run.

"This is no way to run a magazine," the source told Wired. "But unfortunately, this looks like an indication of what we've got in store (from the new boss)."

For his part, Crawford in a posting on his blog site called media reports on McCracken's departure inaccurate.

"I hold editorial integrity in the highest regard," he wrote. "Serving our readership with fair and unbiased content comes first."

Update: While Crawford declined the allegations on his blog, publications including CNET News.com have independently verified Wired's report:

"But three sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told CNET News.com that McCracken informed staffers in an afternoon meeting Wednesday that he decided to resign because Colin Crawford, senior vice president, online, at IDG Communications, was pressuring him to avoid stories that were critical of major advertisers." (MacNN)
post #2 of 82
Sounds more like a "straw that broke the camel's back" kind of thing, rather than the Apple connection being any huge deal in and of itself.

Also sounds like he may have been right to leave. The article probably wasn't great, but if it's true (which I cannot say) that Crawford bows to advertisers before journalism, then I'd side with McCracken on that issue.

I certainly won't choose sides blindly on this just because this specific article pushes Apple's buttons. I won't judge the article unless I see it, and I won't judge the man or his decision until I know the context, of which this article is but the tip of the iceberg.

Not that anyone here would jump to conclusions blindly
post #3 of 82
Well one less place to visit and read. Unbalanced reporting should not be tolerated. The man quit because he has principals, IMHO we should follow the lead on this one and stop reading their stuff.
post #4 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"I hold editorial integrity in the highest regard," he wrote. "Serving our readership with fair and unbiased content comes first."

Right, I really believe you (fingers crossed).
Bye PC World.
post #5 of 82
god mac news is boring lately.
post #6 of 82
For The Love Of God Apple - Just Fucking Release Something!!!!!
post #7 of 82
I side with both McCracken and Crawford. While I admire McCracken's principles, I understand the position that Crawford is in. The profits are had from advertisers, not subscribers. The internet has adversely affected printed media, especially magazines, so killing a story that may otherwise affect the bottom line is worth being nixed, in my opinion.

After all, Jobs isn't known for his sense of humor and levity when being talked about. This is the guy who rejected writing the intro to iWoz because of a 30 year old story Wozniak, the co-founder and original genius behind the first Apple, mentioned in his autobiography.
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post #8 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I side with both McCracken and Crawford. While I admire McCracken's principles, I understand the position that Crawford is in. The profits are had from advertisers, not subscribers. The internet has adversely affected printed media, especially magazines, so killing a story that may otherwise affect the bottom line is worth being nixed, in my opinion.

After all, Jobs isn't known for his sense of humor and levity when being talked about. This is the guy who rejected writing the intro to iWoz because of a 30 year old story Wozniak, the co-founder and original genius behind the first Apple, mentioned in his autobiography.

There would be no adverticing dollars if they have no readership.
post #9 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by EagerDragon View Post

There would be no adverticing dollars if they have no readership.

Yes both are symbiotic but advertisers are the ones footing the bill to get your publication off the ground and solvent. When it comes to the pecking order it's clearly

Advertisers first
Readership second.

I don't blame them. It's a business and integrity doesn't pay the bills. Money does.
He's a mod so he has a few extra vBulletin privileges. That doesn't mean he should stop posting or should start acting like Digital Jesus.
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He's a mod so he has a few extra vBulletin privileges. That doesn't mean he should stop posting or should start acting like Digital Jesus.
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post #10 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The Editor-in-Chief of PC World, Harry McCracken, quit the magazine abruptly on Wednesday after the company's new chief executive, Colin Crawford, tried to kill a story about Apple and Steve Jobs.

The piece, which Wired describes as a whimsical article titled "Ten Things We Hate About Apple," was reportedly still in draft form when Crawford axed it.

"It was supposed to be light fare, just really innocuous stuff," the tech publication quoted a source as saying. "The same kinds of things people have said about Apple before -- things that teased Steve Jobs."

Since his arrival at PC World about a month ago, Crawford -- a former CEO of Macworld -- is also reported to have told editors that product reviews in the magazine were too critical of vendors, especially ones who advertise in the magazine, and that they had to start being nicer to advertisers.

When reached on his cell phone, McCracken failed to reveal the specifics of why he resigned but said he quit "because of some fundamental disagreements with [Crawford]."

Sources at PC World told Wired that Crawford refused to compromise on the Apple story, at which point McCracken said "no way" and walked out. Those same sources added that when Crawford was working for the Macworld, Jobs would call him up any time he had a problem with a story the magazine was about to run.

"This is no way to run a magazine," the source told Wired. "But unfortunately, this looks like an indication of what we've got in store (from the new boss)."

For his part, Crawford in a posting on his blog site called media reports on McCracken's departure inaccurate.

"I hold editorial integrity in the highest regard," he wrote. "Serving our readership with fair and unbiased content comes first."

I am glad Crawford resigned- it shows he has principles. That is where my support for him ends. Management decides the editorial direction a magazine takes and the title of the article alone tells you where it's going. Written with tongue firmly planted in cheek or not, this type of journalism is not helpful to anyone and there are probably a lot of Mac users that also subscribe to PC World (now that they can run Windows on their Macs). I also think that management also knows that this is not the time to bash the Mac with its current resurgence and newfound acceptance by consumers and business users alike.

I have had enough of being treated like a tofu-eating zen freak just because I use a Mac. Can't we all just get along? "Serving our readership with fair and unbiased content comes first."...I like this guy!
post #11 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by EagerDragon View Post

The man quit because he has principals.

No. You don't have enough information to say that. The man quit. He says he quit because he has principles. A man can say anything. Maybe it's true, and maybe it's not.

Another possible scenario: a writer with mediocre talent likes to push buttons, because he can't think of anything with genuine substance. He doesn't have much insight into the notion that he's just writing hackwork, but his editor doesn't think the latest article is anything but trolling for hits. The editor says, "Nope. Not gonna publish." The writer storms out. How sure are you that this isn't what happened? But you're ready to punish the magazine.

Maybe your take on this is precisely right. All I'm saying is don't be so absolute in your judgement before more is known. Too often we act like the first person to speak has the story we should believe. I've heard lies spoken quickly, and I've heard the truth spoken quickly. Speed is not the way to judge.

How many times has each of us wanted to throttle John Dvorak's editors for letting him keep pushing his rants? The magazine makes a lot of money with him, though, because, as much as his stuff winds people up, they keep coming to read it. And that's revenue. Maybe someone just finally stepped up to the plate and said "No! The next Dvorak will not be born on my watch."

Just a thought.
post #12 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

Yes both are symbiotic but advertisers are the ones footing the bill to get your publication off the ground and solvent. When it comes to the pecking order it's clearly

Advertisers first
Readership second.

I don't blame them. It's a business and integrity doesn't pay the bills. Money does.

Wow. I consider myself a realist, but that take is pretty cynical even for me.

The logical corollary to your perspective then is that the accuracy of the content in the magazine or web site is irrelevant--so long as one can attract advertisers to subsidize the publication.

Makes no sense.
post #13 of 82
No matter why Harry McCracken quit, if this is really true:
Quote:
Crawford -- a former CEO of Macworld -- is also reported to have told editors that product reviews in the magazine were too critical of vendors, especially ones who advertise in the magazine, and that they had to start being nicer to advertisers.

Then PCWorld has lost any credability it ever had with me. That kind of writing is no way to run a magazine that is supposed to be helping potential PC owners decided on a product.
post #14 of 82
It seems that someone forgot to take his Ritalin before going to work. To quit over a stupid article about what you hate about a computer company shows a certain lack of maturity. This supposed whimsical article is not exactly like he was reporting on the Iraq War.

Ten things to hate about Apple doesn't sound as he was planning on writing something of stalwart journalistic quality, does it? It sounds more like what some college kid would write in his blog. What was his next article going to be? What computers are Britney, Paris and Lindsey using these days?

Finding ten things to hate about any company is a very easy task. Hell, I can find ten things I hate about my wife and she's the best person I have ever met. And she could surely find a thousand things to hate about me (although she wouldn't because she's too good a person). But aside from me trying to earn brownie points at home, my point is that being a hater is a very easy task. Find ten things to like about something sometime. Is there any company on the planet that does just ten things perfectly? Now finding that would require some real reporting.

If you're going to quit your job on principle, do it over something that matters, please.
post #15 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

Advertisers first
Readership second.

You can't say that. Well, you can, but it's not a fair statement (yes, I get your irony, such as it is).

Consider my point about Dvorak, in the post above. Letting a guy troll endlessly, pushing buttons, and saying anything he wants, just because he wants to... where's the integrity in that? If John Dvorak went away, would it make the advertisers happy? No doubt it would. But it would also increase the journalistic integrity if his (suddenly-former) magazine, as well. Nobody seems to stand up to Dvorak. Feel free to speculate on why that is, but it's sure not because of his flawlessly brilliant analyses.

Letting journalists say whatever they want is NOT always equatable to "integrity". Sometimes the journalist is just a troll, trying to use a magazine as his personal loudspeaker. And if that's the case, I say, "Good riddance." We've had soooooooooo much trolling lately.

Like I said before, none of us really has enough information to make a proper judgment about what happened. But if the title of the article is anything to go by ("10 Things We Hate About Apple"), well... you know, it sure does sound like trolling to me.
post #16 of 82
I stopped buying Macworld because the reviews were ridiculous. They were always favorable, and minimally critical - worthless. They were product descriptions.
So if the Crawford guy was running the show, I believe that he has no integrity - I used to read the industry a$$ kissing reviews until I grew tired of them.
~
post #17 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by EagerDragon View Post

Well one less place to visit and read. Unbalanced reporting should not be tolerated. The man quit because he has principals, IMHO we should follow the lead on this one and stop reading their stuff.

"Unbalanced Reporting" - Good Grief man! Are you a hermit who doesn't read the newspapers, watch tv, listen to the radio or browse the web? It doesn't matter if your a conservative reading the New York Post or Wall Street Journal newspapers, watching Fox News, listening to Rush Limbaugh on the radio or going on the web to newsmaxdotcom or if you are a liberal reading the New York Times or L. A. Times newspapers, watching CNN, MSNBC, CBS etc., listening to Air America on the radio or going on the web to barbrastreisanddotcom, moveondotorg, huffingtonpostdotcom - you are never going to find balanced reporting.

But if you do, please let me know and if you do, can I get some of that stuff you're smokin'?

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post #18 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by halhiker View Post

It seems that someone forgot to take his Ritalin before going to work. To quit over a stupid article about what you hate about a computer company shows a certain lack of maturity. This supposed whimsical article is not exactly like he was reporting on the Iraq War.

Ten things to hate about Apple doesn't sound as he was planning on writing something of stalwart journalistic quality, does it? It sounds more like what some college kid would write in his blog. What was his next article going to be? What computers are Britney, Paris and Lindsey using these days?

Finding ten things to hate about any company is a very easy task. Hell, I can find ten things I hate about my wife and she's the best person I have ever met. And she could surely find a thousand things to hate about me (although she wouldn't because she's too good a person). But aside from me trying to earn brownie points at home, my point is that being a hater is a very easy task. Find ten things to like about something sometime. Is there any company on the planet that does just ten things perfectly? Now finding that would require some real reporting.

If you're going to quit your job on principle, do it over something that matters, please.

I seriously doubt any of us are privy to the inner workings of PC World, Macworld, or the inner thoughts and motivations of either of the people cited in the article. We simply inhale the vapors of whatever "spun" version of truth we're allowed as these events speed past us. I believe about 1% of this article.

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post #19 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

god mac news is boring lately.

i know. what is going on.

i need some wild rumors.

mac tablet anyone??

widescreen video ipod crazy $#!+?

the new yellow dalmation zune?

or will someone please interview steve ballmer again?

just abusing my smileys
post #20 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

Yes both are symbiotic but advertisers are the ones footing the bill to get your publication off the ground and solvent. When it comes to the pecking order it's clearly

Advertisers first
Readership second.

I don't blame them. It's a business and integrity doesn't pay the bills. Money does.

There's a balance that must be observed.
post #21 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by halhiker View Post

It seems that someone forgot to take his Ritalin before going to work. To quit over a stupid article about what you hate about a computer company shows a certain lack of maturity. This supposed whimsical article is not exactly like he was reporting on the Iraq War.

Ten things to hate about Apple doesn't sound as he was planning on writing something of stalwart journalistic quality, does it? It sounds more like what some college kid would write in his blog. What was his next article going to be? What computers are Britney, Paris and Lindsey using these days?

Finding ten things to hate about any company is a very easy task. Hell, I can find ten things I hate about my wife and she's the best person I have ever met. And she could surely find a thousand things to hate about me (although she wouldn't because she's too good a person). But aside from me trying to earn brownie points at home, my point is that being a hater is a very easy task. Find ten things to like about something sometime. Is there any company on the planet that does just ten things perfectly? Now finding that would require some real reporting.

If you're going to quit your job on principle, do it over something that matters, please.

You're forgetting that he probably knows much more about Crawford tan you do.

The Editor in Chief is supposed to set the tone of the magazine. If the CEO is doing it, the Editor in Chief will get blamed for it, good or bad.

If Crawford was going to cut a minor article like that, what do you think he will do for something major?
post #22 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronbo View Post

You can't say that. Well, you can, but it's not a fair statement (yes, I get your irony, such as it is).

Consider my point about Dvorak, in the post above. Letting a guy troll endlessly, pushing buttons, and saying anything he wants, just because he wants to... where's the integrity in that? If John Dvorak went away, would it make the advertisers happy? No doubt it would. But it would also increase the journalistic integrity if his (suddenly-former) magazine, as well. Nobody seems to stand up to Dvorak. Feel free to speculate on why that is, but it's sure not because of his flawlessly brilliant analyses.

Letting journalists say whatever they want is NOT always equatable to "integrity". Sometimes the journalist is just a troll, trying to use a magazine as his personal loudspeaker. And if that's the case, I say, "Good riddance." We've had soooooooooo much trolling lately.

Like I said before, none of us really has enough information to make a proper judgment about what happened. But if the title of the article is anything to go by ("10 Things We Hate About Apple"), well... you know, it sure does sound like trolling to me.

We don't like Dvorak, but he isn't a journalist, he's a pundit. Pundits are controversal, and they increase readership, or listenership. They don't speak with the voice of the magazine.
post #23 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by halhiker View Post

It seems that someone forgot to take his Ritalin before going to work. To quit over a stupid article about what you hate about a computer company shows a certain lack of maturity.

If you're going to quit your job on principle, do it over something that matters, please.

And if you're going to spout off about something, take the time to know what you're talking about. The struggle that goes on between editorial integrity and advertising sales isn't limited to PC World, nor is it limited to magazines -- although "major" U.S. magzines have been dealing with the problem for years:

A major advertiser recently approached all three newsweeklies - Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News - and told them it would be closely monitoring editorial content. So says a high newsweekly executive who was given the warning (but who would not name the advertiser). For the next quarter, the advertiser warned the magazines' publishing sides, it would keep track of how the company's industry was portrayed in news columns. At the end of that period, the advertiser would select one - and only one - of the magazines and award all of its newsweekly advertising to it.

Get it? Whichever magazine put the potential advertiser in the most positive light would receive the advertising dollars. And it's not like product placement in a copy of InStyle. These are "news" magazines -- except that the news is viewed through the eyes of people afraid of offending potential advertisers. There are plenty of other examples of advertising dictating the news, throughout the media. Here's a start: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/m...09/ai_n8761685

Pull your head out of your ass.
post #24 of 82
I have to agree... Macworld's "Product reviews" have gotten so bad that if I click through it's often just to get to the product link as the vendors invariably do a more thorough job of marketing than Macworld does. And include pictures.

Frankly, I'm not surprised at this now that I think about how my attitude has changed towards MacWorld's content.
post #25 of 82
People still read magazines?

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post #26 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrob View Post

Wow. I consider myself a realist, but that take is pretty cynical even for me.

The logical corollary to your perspective then is that the accuracy of the content in the magazine or web site is irrelevant--so long as one can attract advertisers to subsidize the publication.

Makes no sense.

Of course it makes sense. Business sense. There have been too many cases of computer magazines being biased in favour of their advertisers to maintain the credibility of the whole computer publications industry. Where have you been living in the last 20 years? You don't really take their content as an example of good journalism, right?
post #27 of 82
It only makes business sense if analyzed on a "per quarter" basis. Beyond the very short term where one can ride off a previously established reputation, you can only shill for a short term before you lose readership, and as such lose value in your advertising. This is why a balance must be struck; effectively the value you must provide to your advertisers is a trust relationship they have built with their readers. If that relationship is broken, you might as well be publishing a large rag full of adverts with no editorial content.

Make no mistake, the behavior we see in MacWorld/PCWorld are the death throws of a very sick organization.
post #28 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

god mac news is boring lately.

I've been thinking that all week.
post #29 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

Yes both are symbiotic but advertisers are the ones footing the bill to get your publication off the ground and solvent. When it comes to the pecking order it's clearly

Advertisers first
Readership second.

I don't blame them. It's a business and integrity doesn't pay the bills. Money does.

If the public has no faith in the credibility of the reviews, they are not going to buy that publication. If the reviews and articles are censored by Steve Jobs and other tech CEO, the Magazines basically become a large advertisement. In addition, a company knowing the faults of a product or the way the company is doing things it help both it and its customers down the road.
post #30 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phizz View Post

I've been thinking that all week.

Might have something to do with not seeing anything but a new option for super pros since basically last fall. I'm used to new Macs in early january and it's early May.
post #31 of 82
...a grumpy old baby boomer that thinks its his way or the highway and the others better shut up or get to know his full wrath....only difference is he has millions and i don't....
post #32 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

We don't like Dvorak, but he isn't a journalist, he's a pundit. Pundits are controversal, and they increase readership, or listenership. They don't speak with the voice of the magazine.

Sigh.

Time out for semantics and hair splitting, which of course gets us nowhere. Dvorak was simply an illustration.

Journalist: a person who writes for newspapers or magazines or prepares news to be broadcast on radio or television.

Pundit: an expert in a particular subject or field who is frequently called on to give opinions about it to the public.

[Source: New Oxford American Dictionary, which you'll find find on your computer]

Does Dvorak count as a journalist? Yes. He fits the criteria from clause 1: he writes for a magazine. Is he what you consider a "proper journalist"? Apparently not, judging from your correction. But your correction was incorrect.

Is he a pundit? I suppose he is "called upon to give opinions." Or is he. He sure gives a lot of opinions. Whether that's the second implies the first is something that requires more behind-the-scene information than I possess. My only point was to suggest that the reason he's called upon to give those opinions isn't because they're so brilliant. His magazine pays him because trolling makes money, and they seem to be happy with that.

But he's more truly a journalist than bloggers are, sadly. And being a journalist carries a number of ethical obligations. He just doesn't live up to them.
post #33 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by palex9 View Post

...a grumpy old baby boomer that thinks its his way or the highway and the others better shut up or get to know his full wrath....only difference is he has millions and i don't....

Billions actually.
post #34 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

Yes both are symbiotic but advertisers are the ones footing the bill to get your publication off the ground and solvent. When it comes to the pecking order it's clearly

Advertisers first
Readership second.

I don't blame them. It's a business and integrity doesn't pay the bills. Money does.

Lets get something straight here. There is a difference between being critical of a product or company in a publication - and SLAMMING or mocking a company just for the sake of mocking it - which is what this Apple piece sounded like. Especially when that company is an advertiser in your magazine.

I'm not sure how much money Apple spends on PCWorld advertising, but it seems the days of them smacking Apple are over now that Apple is big enough to contribute to it's bottom line. Oh how times have changed.
post #35 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronbo View Post

No. You don't have enough information to say that. The man quit. He says he quit because he has principles. A man can say anything. Maybe it's true, and maybe it's not.

Another possible scenario: a writer with mediocre talent likes to push buttons, because he can't think of anything with genuine substance. He doesn't have much insight into the notion that he's just writing hackwork, but his editor doesn't think the latest article is anything but trolling for hits. The editor says, "Nope. Not gonna publish." The writer storms out. How sure are you that this isn't what happened? But you're ready to punish the magazine.

But we know for certain that's not what happened. The editor didn't reject the piece, and the writer didn't resign.


The editor-in-chief (in most reputable publications, he is the final and only authority on what makes it into print) accepted the piece. The publisher then told the editor that he couldn't run the article. So the editor quit. Rightly so.

Maybe the publisher had good reasons to block publication too. But if that's the case, then the publisher should have given his reasons for suggesting that the article be suppressed, and convinced the editor to step back in this case. If that failed, the publisher's legitimate recourse is to fire the editor because he or she apparently doesn't accurately represent the interests of the publication any more.
post #36 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by the cool gut View Post

For The Love Of God Apple - Just Fucking Release Something!!!!!

Absolutely! I'm tired of waiting for everything.
post #37 of 82
Its not a matter of advertisters first and readers second, or vice versa. It ia about strking a balance between the two:
- If readers don't feel they have a quality news source then they won't read it
- If advertisers get insulted too badly then the won't advertise
- If there aren't enough readers then advertisers won't advertise, or at least pay the same amount

Advertisers need to advertise, readers need a quality news source. Between the two the compromise is that advertisers need to accept some critiscim and readers that there will be some bias.
post #38 of 82
but who the hell reads PC World anyway?
post #39 of 82
Wait, there's a magazine called PC World?

I agree with the assessment of Macworld as sucktastic, too...
You need skeptics, especially when the science gets very big and monolithic. -James Lovelock
The Story of Stuff
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You need skeptics, especially when the science gets very big and monolithic. -James Lovelock
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post #40 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaun, UK View Post

Absolutely! I'm tired of waiting for everything.

COUNT ME IN FOR THE TIRED OF WAITING CLUB!
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