Since 1996, I’ve been an editorial consultant to magazines, newspapers, websites, corporations, and writers of articles, speeches, papers, and books.
I’m also founder and chairman of DietPower, Inc. (wwww.dietpower.com), which produces weight-loss software for the PC and health news and features for the Web. Besides DietPower software, my inventions include “Whose Body Do You Have?” and the world’s first interactive eye test. I started the company in 1988.
From 1996 to 1999, I was executive producer and editor-in-chief of HealthScout, which became the Web’s largest personalized health-news service, syndicated on more than 300 sites. I conceived the service (now at www.HealthDay.com), wrote its patented personalization algorithm, and established its prize-winning news team. HealthScout won two silver medals in the WWW Health Awards.
Before building HealthScout, I was a top editor at the world’s largest magazine, Reader’s Digest, whose 100 million readers included one in four American adults. Besides directing the magazine’s core editorial staff, I created original articles for its 48 editions around the globe. Among the articles:
“America’s New Merchants of Death,” published simultaneously in 17 languages and read in virtually every country, blew the whistle on tobacco companies for promoting smoking among Third World children. I produced the article with investigative reporter William Ecenbarger.
“The Reader’s Digest Home Eye Test,” taken in more than 2 million households, alerted readers to symptoms of eye disease in time to save their sight, and in some cases their lives. Researched and written by Robert C. Yeager, it was the first consumer magazine article to win the American Public Health Association’s “Paper of the Year” Award.
“A Suntan Can Kill You,” by David Reuben, M.D., was the first major magazine article to reveal that sunscreens promote skin cancer by giving users a false sense of security—filtering out the tanning rays but not the more dangerous shorter wavelengths. Partly as a result of this report, sunscreens have been reformulated.
“Warning: Cigarettes Are Harmful to Your Love Life,” also produced with Dr. Reuben, was the first comprehensive report for lay readers to link smoking and impotence.
“A Driving Tip To Save Your Life” was the first major article to urge Americans to keep their automobile headlights on in the daytime. Written by Remar Sutton, the article was published in 1990, seven years before Washington made daytime running lights mandatory on new cars.
“Drilling For Gold,” another investigative piece that I conceived and produced with William Ecenbarger, exposed widespread malpractice in the dental industry. The article details Ecenbarger’s travels from dentist to dentist around the United States, seeking honest exams and estimates. The piece ran as the magazine’s lead story in February 1997.
Before joining Reader’s Digest, I was features editor of Technology Illustrated, a mass-market magazine that explored emerging technologies.
Earlier, I was a contributing editor of Science 80, a consumer sibling of the world’s preeminent scientific journal, Science. My writing helped Science 80 win two National Magazine Awards for General Excellence.
During this same period, I taught magazine and technical writing at Pennsylvania State University, where I graduated first in my class in 1974 with a B.A. in English literature. An avid amateur astronomer, I began my college career as a physics major at Cornell University.
My computer experience started during high school, when I spent a summer studying programming and engineering at Brown University. During the Vietnam War, I worked as a computer technician in Air Force intelligence, helping to operate spy satellites. I combined my computer and health interests to create the first version of DietPower in 1992.
I began my career as a reporter for small-town newspapers in my native Pennsylvania.
My wife, Mary, is Vice President, Communications, of the National Organization for Rare Disorders. We live in Connecticut with our sons, John, Bill, and Tom.