Interview: Chris Anderson, 'Wired'

Chris Anderson is editor-in-chief of Wired magazine and author of the upcoming book Free, which looks into the business strategy of giving services and products away at no cost. He talks to PRWeek about his PR blacklist of 2007, free content, and the magazine's own PR efforts.

Chris Anderson is editor-in-chief of Wired magazine and author of the upcoming book Free, which looks into the business strategy of giving services and products away at no cost. He talks to PRWeek about his PR blacklist of 2007, free content, and the magazine's own PR efforts.

PRWeek: What was the aftermath of the blacklist?

Chris Anderson: I don't think it lowered the amount of unsolicited pitches from PR people to any measurable degree whatsoever. Now I have a different method; I just press [the] spam [button]. My hope is [that] if enough people do this… it will force good behavior. The PR people I know are terrific. I don't know many, but the ones I do know [send me pitches] that are meant for me.

PRWeek: Free will explore the business model of giving content away for free. Are there any lessons for news organizations or social networks there?

Anderson: [In the book], I talk about traditional Web sites and new media models, but there isn't a blanket model that works for the entire industry. Some individual newspapers will figure it out, others won't. The simple answer is, advertising won't pay for everything, and it was clear from the beginning that it wouldn't. I focus a lot on ‘freemium,' a mix of free and paid services. That's growing.

PRWeek: How has Wired navigated the space so well?

Anderson: Our magazine is mainstream and has broad appeal, but on the Web, we have narrow and niche content. One of the things I'm most proud of is [Wired's national security blog] The Danger Room. That's too niche for mainstream media; you wouldn't see that in The New York Times or Wired magazine, but it works beautifully in a long-tail medium like the Web.

PRWeek: How does Wired do its PR?

Anderson: I'm proud of my team because our PR efforts don't look like PR. We have people on Twitter, podcast, and blogs. We have individual people achieving a presence outside the magazine, like [senior editor] Nancy Miller's Wired Playlist [which appears on iTunes every week]. This is something she wanted to do. It doesn't sound like PR, but it has the same effect. It is reaching out to people not from press releases, but through their individual passions. What is great about it is that it feels real and authentic.

Name: Chris Anderson

Outlet: Wired

Title: Editor-in-chief

Preferred contact method: 415.276.4962

Web site: www.Wired.com

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