PC World editor quits during dispute over Apple story

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
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)
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 81
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    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
  • Reply 2 of 81
    eagerdragoneagerdragon Posts: 318member
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 81
    eagerdragoneagerdragon Posts: 318member
    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.

  • Reply 4 of 81
    bdkennedy1bdkennedy1 Posts: 1,459member
    god mac news is boring lately.
  • Reply 5 of 81
    the cool gutthe cool gut Posts: 1,714member
    For The Love Of God Apple - Just Fucking Release Something!!!!!
  • Reply 6 of 81
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 81
    eagerdragoneagerdragon Posts: 318member
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 81
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,354member
    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.
  • Reply 9 of 81
    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!
  • Reply 10 of 81
    ronboronbo Posts: 669member
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 81
    mrobmrob Posts: 13member
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 81
    vesperdemvesperdem Posts: 2member
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 81
    halhikerhalhiker Posts: 111member
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 81
    ronboronbo Posts: 669member
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 81
    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.

    ~
  • Reply 16 of 81
    rot'napplerot'napple Posts: 1,839member
    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'?
  • Reply 17 of 81
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 81
    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
  • Reply 19 of 81
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,282member
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 81
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,282member
    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?
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