We're 40!

By Jacobson, Michael F. | Nutrition Action Healthletter, January-February 2014 | Go to article overview

We're 40!


Jacobson, Michael F., Nutrition Action Healthletter


Along, long time ago--July 1973, to be exact--I attended a meeting of the Society for Nutrition Education. To foment a little trouble and draw out the more activist educators, I circulated a petition calling for a resolution on some motherhood and apple pie issue. I don't remember if the resolution passed, but I collected a few hundred signatures.

When I returned to Washington, I thought it would be useful to connect those petition signers, and so, in January 1974, Nutrition Action was born. It was a homespun affair--just eight pages--but people liked it. They told their friends, who told their friends, and over the next year the circulation grew to about a thousand.

Nutrition Action was getting expensive to staff (Patricia Hausman was our stalwart editor), print, and mail, so we took a gamble and started charging. Remarkably, people paid! Many of the early issues focused on the government's food and nutrition policies, but in the early 1980s our astute new editor (Greg Moyer) had a brilliant idea: publish articles not just on what we wanted to tell readers, but also on what our readers wanted to hear.

Over the next decade or so readership soared, reaching more than a million subscribers in 1997 (including some 40,000 from the Canadian edition that we launched in 1996). And we became far more professional about how we obtained--and kept-subscribers (thanks mostly to Dennis Bass). Circulation eventually leveled off at around 800,000, though we're expecting to cross the million mark again early this year. …

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