PC World editor resigns over apparent ad pressure

Harry McCracken leaves leading computer magazine after 12 years because IDG management urged him to curtail stories critical of advertisers, sources say.

Award-winning Editor-in-Chief Harry McCracken of PC World resigned Tuesday over disagreements with the magazine's publisher regarding stories critical of advertisers, according to sources.

McCracken, reached Wednesday evening, confirmed that he resigned after 12 years at the magazine and 16 years at publisher International Data Group, over disagreements with management. He declined to comment on the nature of those disagreements.

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.

Wired News reported Wednesday evening that McCracken quit after Crawford killed a draft story titled "Ten Things We Hate About Apple."

An IDG representative confirmed McCracken resigned, but said he was unable to comment on personnel matters. In an e-mail to News.com, Crawford denied that advertiser pressure played any part in McCracken's resignation.

PC World is best known for its product reviews and how-to expertise. The magazine has won numerous awards over the years for its coverage of the PC industry and technology in general, including six prizes--such as Best Computer/Consumer Magazine--just awarded last week at the Maggie awards, run by the Western Publications Association.

"I spent 12 years at PC World; it's been incredibly good to me," McCracken said. He said he will still have some sort of writing relationship with the organization.

A source at PC World who wished to remain anonymous praised McCracken's decision.

"It saddens us all that Harry, a PC World institution, decided to leave," the source said. "But dammit, we're proud of him for doing it."

PC World is published by IDG, a venerable trade publishing organization that has been covering the technology industry since 1964. The monthly magazine reaches 4.3 million "purchase influencers," and PCWorld.com has 6.8 million unique visitors per month, according to a Wednesday press release touting the Maggies winners.

IDG also publishes well-known trade magazines and Web sites about the computer industry such as Computerworld, Network World, and InfoWorld, which recently shuttered its print publication and focused solely on its Web site. IDG was founded by Patrick McGovern and is privately held.

Crawford has been with IDG since 1994, according to his blog, when he became CEO of Macworld. He ran Macworld until 2003, when he became vice president of business development within IDG's corporate management structure, before assuming his current role.

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