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John Benditt has had a distinguished career as a science journalist that laid the groundwork for founding DrivingWheel. While DrivingWheel works in all fields of publishing, its core business is centered in science, technology and medicine.


Benditt’s career in science journalism has been characterized by creativity, entrepreneurial initiative and growing expertise in the business of publishing beyond editorial.


After training as a newspaper reporter (at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Philadelphia Evening Bulletin) he moved to science journalism as a member of the Board of Editors at Scientific American. In eight years at that distinguished magazine, he edited articles in many fields of science, concentrating particularly on molecular biology, medicine, archaeology, anthropology, and demography.


In 1988, he proposed, conceived, and edited Scientific American’s single-topic issue on AIDS, which sold more copies than any issue in the magazine’s 150-year history. For that issue, Benditt not only supervised and edited the entire issue, but also served as ghostwriter for the lead article, a collaboration between Luc Montagnier and Robert Gallo. It was the first time these bitter rivals for the title of discoverer of the AIDS virus had ever collaborated in print.


In 1989, Benditt was recruited to Science, where he played several key roles in that journal’s growth and revitalization. He established the first network of regular freelance writers Science ever used. By the time he left, the journal had used more than 200 freelance writers, bringing a dramatic increase in depth, breadth and flavor to its news coverage. Thereafter, Benditt served as the chief editor for Research News, the most widely read section of Science. He was soon promoted to Features Editor, a role in which he managed the first-ever collaborations between the news section of Science and its scholarly editors. Under his supervision, Science published ground-breaking special issues on topics such as Women in Science, AIDS, Genetics and Behavior and Science Innovation.


In 1995, concerned about the graying of Science’s audience, Benditt proposed that the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the journal’s publisher, create an online network for young scientists. Working with Shirley Malcom, head of Education and Human Resources at AAAS, Benditt raised funding for this project, which he named Science’s Next Wave. Science’s Next Wave was launched in 1996, with funding from the Burroughs-Wellcome Fund, the Sloan Foundation, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the National Research Council of Canada, and the Wellcome Trust in the UK. Benditt served as the website’s founding editor. He hired the initial staff and also supervised the site’s design, functionality and online hosting. Science’s Next Wave remains the most successful online enterprise devoted to career advice for young scientists.


In 1997 Benditt was recruited to become Editor in Chief of Technology Review, published by MIT. He conceived and executed a new editorial focus for the magazine: innovation. He had the magazine redesigned, created a new table of contents, and hired a new staff to implement his vision. The results were immediate and dramatic. When he arrived, the circulation of Technology Review was 90,000. By the time he left, in 2002, the magazine’s circulation had grown to 310,000. Advertising revenues increased 100-fold during his tenure.


During Benditt’s five years as editor, Technology Review was nominated three times for National Magazine Awards, the highest honor in magazine publishing: once for General Excellence, once for Journalism in the Public Interest and once for Single-Topic Issue (for a prescient issue on Energy). In addition, Technology Review under his leadership won numerous other awards for design and editorial content, including being named by Folio magazine as the nation’s best science/technology magazine.


Along with expanding the reach and substance of Technology Review, Benditt created a series of extensions of the TR brand, many of which continue to this day. To celebrate the magazine’s centennial, he established a program called the TR100, in which the magazine identified 100 of the most promising innovators across all fields of science and technology; a special issue of the magazine was devoted to the TR100. He also created an annual special issue on the top 10 innovations of the year. He dramatically expanded the magazine’s website and served as the public face of the magazine, with a regular appearance on CNBC to discuss the current issue. He also served as moderator of the conferences TR sponsored during his tenure as editor, including a successful conference that brought together the first cohort of TR100 honorees on the MIT campus in 2000.


In addition to demonstrating a growing capacity for innovation and entrepreneurship, Benditt’s career prior to setting up DrivingWheel fed his interest in all aspects of publishing, going well beyond editorial to explore circulation, design, advertising sales, management, recruitment, and the online world. This experience, combined with his ongoing experience with the clients of DrivingWheel, enables him to provide strategic advice—with proven results.