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PC World editor returns as IDG exec reassigned

A week after his resignation, editor is back; executive who reportedly pressured him to kill stories critical of advertisers will return to prior role.

Harry McCracken is back at PC World, one week after he resigned in a dispute with management over stories that were critical of advertisers.

PC World announced his return in a story on its Web site, in which it also revealed that PC World CEO Colin Crawford will leave that post to return to his prior role inside International Data Group, publisher of PC World, as executive vice president, online. Sources said last week that Crawford pressured McCracken to kill stories that were critical of advertisers, especially one titled "Ten Things We Hate About Apple." McCracken said last week he resigned after a dispute with management, though he declined to offer specifics.

Crawford denied that advertiser pressure played a role in the editorial process in an e-mail to CNET and on his blog. But Wired News reported last week that during a meeting following McCracken's departure, Crawford told staffers that the marketing department would play a greater role in the editorial process and directly contradicted an IDG representative in saying that several stories, rather than the single Apple story, led to the dispute. Crawford's blog post about McCracken's departure can no longer be found on his blog, though Google's cache has preserved a copy here.

Crawford has apologized to the editorial staff for the incident, according to the story posted Wednesday. And PC World has gone ahead and published the story that led to the dispute, which was part of a package that included a story called "Ten Things We Love About Apple."

UPDATE--In a brief interview, McCracken declined to go into too many details about what transpired over the past week, but noted "this is the first good day I've had in the last week." Preferring to move past the details of what exactly happened between him and Crawford, McCracken thanked Bob Carrigan, president of IDG Communications, and Pat McGovern, IDG founder and chairman, for their support over the past few days.

"It became a far larger statement about editorial independence than I thought," he said, referring to his decision to resign last week. "This is an unusual moment for journalists in a good way."