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|Interview* Christopher Macdonald
by Sean Russell (Naruto)
Editor and Chief of Anime News Network
Interview Conducted: October 24, 2006
Part One | Part Two
According to the ANN website: “Anime News Network was created as a news source that focuses on the medium of Japanese Animation (anime) and Japanese Comics (manga). ANN was founded by Justin Sevakis in July of 1998, and has since lead the online anime news medium with a tradition of strong unbiased coverage of major breaking news. With in-depth coverage, analysis and commentary to provide insight into the world of anime and Manga, ANN has been and continues to be the #1 English language source for anime and Manga news on the Internet. ANN's goal is to make the latest, most comprehensive Anime news available to new fans and veteran Otaku alike.”
Needless to say, Anime3000.com was excited when Christopher agreed to sit down with us. In this interview, Christopher talks about his involvement with Anime News Network, the future of the website and the state of Anime in general.
Naruto: How long have you held your position at Anime News Network and what are some of your duties?
Christopher Macdonald (ANN): I've been editor in chief of Anime News Network since May 2000. Along with George Phillips, I replaced Isaac Alexander. George and I co-ran the site for a while, before he stepped back and I took over the EiC position exclusively. Originally, being EiC of ANN meant doing virtually everything. But over the years we've grown, adding volunteers at first, then freelance writers, and now a full time staff. Currently I "run the business." I handle all the boring business related aspects of the site.
I also work with Jonathan Mays on the news, up until recently I did almost all the news, that's something like 6000 news articles over 5+ years, but now Jon does most of it, and I help him. I also give direction to pretty much everything else that is done. I might not write the articles and columns, but I work with the other editors to decide what gets done.
Naruto: Have you been with ANN since the beginning and if so, what are some of the major differences in your operation?
Christopher Macdonald (ANN): No, I joined the site pretty much when I became EiC. Justin Sevakis founded ANN in 1998.
Naruto: Now, when you joined, was ANN as big as it is today?
Christopher Macdonald (ANN): No, nowhere close. Remember that in 2000, anime was still a niche market.
Naruto: What do you think happened in that stretch of time that made it explode?
Christopher Macdonald (ANN): As the market, and number of fans grew very rapidly in the first half of this decade, so did the website.
Naruto: Looking at your success, it's kind of intimidating being a new site trying to do what you do. How many hours do you have to put in to keep your database and news so current?
Christopher Macdonald (ANN): When I was the only full time employee working on ANN, I was putting in about 60 hours a week. In fact I still do. On top of that there were numerous freelancers and volunteers. Now we're 3 full time staff, 2 part timers and numerous freelancers. There's probably a good 200 man-hours a week that go into the site.
Naruto: Now, do you consider running the site a full-time job or do you do something else on the side?
Christopher Macdonald (ANN): I left my previous career in October 2003 to focus on working on ANN full time. ANN is my full time job.
I honestly don't suggest that new sites "try to do what we do." Do something different. There's still a lot of demand for different types of online content for anime fans. There's no need to do news and such, which is already well covered by ANN and a few other sites.