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Forced Ideologies Only Spell Disaster

One of the major reasons that I loved blogging with Matt Craven at The Blog Herald, David Krug at 901am, and love blogging with the Pronet Advertising team is that when they hired me and during my tenure at all of these sites, none of these people forced their ideologies on me or forced me to approach something in a manner that I don’t agree with.
The PC World Debacle
Wired reported a few days ago that PC World magazine’s editor-in-chief Harry McCracken left the magazine because the company’s CEO, Colin Crawford, tried to suppress an article that Harry was writing about Apple and Steve Jobs, titled ‘Ten Things We Hate About Apple’.
In addition to that, Crawford purportedly also told the 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.’ In essence, Harry left the magazine because of ‘fundamental disagreements’ between him and his new boss, i.e., he wasn’t allowed to write as he wanted to and express opinions that he truly believed in.
What We Learn From This
What we learn from Harry’s abrupt departure, and PC World’s consequent re-hiring of the editor-in-chief and removal of Colin Crawford from the CEO position is that editorial independence is of utmost importance for writers. If you put advertisers before your content when making editorial decisions, you will undoubtedly lose your audience to someone for whom the content is king and everything else is just ancillary.
So if you’re thinking of starting a multi-author blog or a blogging network, keep this in mind: they might be writing for you but they will only write what they believe in. You don’t have to look far for proof of this. The only reason Weblogs Inc., has been so successful even after the sale to AOL is because the corporate machine never interferes with the editorial process, and essentially lets the blogs run independently of the corporation itself.