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IDG's Colin Crawford denies favoritism toward advertisers

PC World's CEO said on his blog that the magazine and IDG do not make editorial decisions with advertiser concerns in mind.

One day after PC World's editor-in-chief resigned over what sources said was a reluctance to mute coverage critical of advertisers, the magazine's chief executive denied that advertisers influence editorial decisions.

Colin Crawford, the president & CEO of PC World Communications and Mac Publishing, wrote in his personal blog that "IDG and I hold editorial integrity in the highest regard," after CNET reported that Harry McCracken informed staffers Wednesday afternoon that he resigned because Crawford ordered him to kill an article that was critical of a major advertiser.

IDG spokesman Howard Sholkin confirmed Thursday that the article was an opinion piece for PC World magazine involving Apple. Wired News reported Wednesday that the article was entitled "Ten Things We Hate About Apple," but Sholkin could not confirm that title.

"Colin did not want the story to appear in the form it existed," Sholkin said. "He spoke to Harry to see how things could be modified." The two were obviously unable to come to an agreement regarding the article, leading to McCracken's abrupt resignation from PC World on Tuesday after 12 years at the magazine and 16 years at IDG. No other issues led to McCracken's resignation, he said.

Crawford did not specifically address the article in question in his blog posting. But he denied that PC World staffers were ordered to minimize negative stories about advertisers. "Independent and trusted editorial is at the heart of everything we do. Serving our readership with fair and unbiased content comes first," he wrote.

PC World staffers were shocked by the sudden departure of McCracken, a well-respected and award-winning editor. In his blog, Crawford said he hoped that McCracken would continue to write for PC World on a freelance basis.

PC World employees had a meeting Thursday afternoon to discuss McCracken's resignation. Wired News' Kim Zetter has a detailed description of what was said during the meeting, which appears to run contrary to some of IDG's official statements. Wired News reported that Crawford told employees that more than one article led to the disagreement, and that while he wouldn't specifically order writers to ease up on an advertiser, he wants marketing to have more influence in the editorial process.