Conservative journalist who used his leadership role in federal communications agencies to counter what he regarded as liberal bias.
Mr. Tomlinson, a former top editor of Reader’s Digest, was director of Voice of America in the early 1980s and, from 2002 to 2007, chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees the federal government’s international broadcasting.
His most prominent role was as chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for two years during the administration of President George W. Bush.
After graduating from Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Va., with a degree in history, he returned to the newspaper. He joined Reader’s Digest as a correspondent in 1968 and reported from Vietnam, Somalia and Europe, where he became an editor.
In 1982 Mr. Tomlinson took a two-year leave to become director of Voice of America. Later, as chairman of the broadcasting board that oversees Voice of America, he helped start an Arabic-language television channel to broadcast to the Middle East.
Leaving Voice of America, Mr. Tomlinson returned to Reader’s Digest in 1984 and rose to editor in chief.
Financially well off at 52, Mr. Tomlinson retired to his horse farm in Middleburg, Va., in 1996. Four years later, he was appointed to the board of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Besides his son Lucas, Mr. Tomlinson is survived by his wife of 39 years, the former Rebecca Moore; another son, William; and a sister.more » « less