Last year, we caught Men's Health editor Dave Zinczenko reusing covers. Turns out that's not the only way Zinczenko recycles content: He's been ripping other writers' bylines off old Men's Health articles and passing them off as his own.
So we ran his prose through a search engine. We discovered that Zinczenko—whose cult of personality includes books, regular TV appearances, and a restaurant in partnership with "wingman" Dan Abrams—routinely rips his writers' bylines off their articles, slaps his byline on, and republishes the material as though he wrote it himself.
For instance, check out Zinczenko's recent "15 Worst Health and Diet Myths." Myths 1 - 5 are ripped verbatim from Men's Health writer Alan Aragon's "The Truth Behind 5 Food Myths." Zinczenko didn't even bother changing the order of the myths.
Myths 6 and 7 are copied from Jeff Volek's "Junk Food That's Good for You." Myth 8 is from this listicle. Myth 9 is from this listicle. Myth 10 is from Maria Masters' "The Truth About Fiber." Myth 11 is from Jeff Volek's 8 Fatty Foods with Health Benefits." Myth 12 is from this listicle. Myth 13 is from this listicle. Myth 14 is from Lisa Jones' 6 Mistakes that Keep You Fat." Myth 15 is from Zach Veilleux's guide to yoga.
And that's not the only article Zinczenko ripped off. Here are other Men's Health articles that Zinczenko repurposed for his Yahoo! Health column:
All told, that's seven bylined Men's Health articles and 10 pieces without bylines that Zinczenko took credit for when they appeared in Yahoo! Health.
Sure, it's conceivable that Zinczenko personally wrote the Men's Health material that didn't list a byline—in which case he is the first editor-in-chief we've heard of who spends his days writing filler for his magazine's listicles.
We asked Zinczenko for a comment earlier today and this is what he had to say:
Any bits of material pulled from Men's Health are owned by Men's Health's parent company, Rodale. So is everything I wrote in the 10 Eat This, Not That! books over the last four years, and every blog entry I have posted over the past six years. That's why it's called the Eat This, Not That! blog presented by Men's Health. We use this material to grow traffic and awareness for the Men's Health and Women's Health brands and a variety of Rodale products. Nowadays promoting the company's products on a blog is no different than going on TV and promoting the latest issue. The only thing unusual in my case is that, because I have authored a line of books, the vast majority of the content that I put into the blog, over the course of nearly 150 entries, is generated by me and not pulled from the magazine.
Yes, it's normal for websites to republish articles from other sites—but it's certainly not normal for an editor to take articles written by other people and pass them off as if he wrote them himself. Zinczenko may be the face of the Men's Health, but that doesn't give him a literary droit de seigneur over everything that appears in the magazine.
We contacted Yahoo! Health and the plagiarized writers for comment. We've yet to receive a response, but we'll update the story if they do. And if you're a Men's Health employee whose work was pilfered, drop us an email. We'd like to know what it feels like to be plagiarized by your boss.
Additional reporting by Lindsay MaHarry.