Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, the great editor of Reader’s Digest and later head of Voice of America and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, died last night at the Winchester Medical Center in Virginia, where he had been hospitalized for several days. He was 69. He lived in Middleburg, Virginia.
Tomlinson joined Reader’s Digest in 1968 and rose to managing editor in 1984, then editor-in-chief in 1989. He expanded the magazine’s coverage beyond popular features. He added investigative and political reporting that often produced exclusive stories. He retired in 1996.
President Reagan nominated Tomlinson to run Voice of America, which broadcasts internationally, in 1982. He defended VOA’s editorials in support of Reagan administration policies. “Someone complained that your editorials sound just like Ronald Reagan,” he told an interviewer, “and I said you’re darn right and I’m proud of it. The editorials should reflect the viewpoint of the party in power.”