Eighty years ago this month, Consumer Reports released its first issue with the goal of empowering consumers to navigate the marketplace challenges of the time. Though the intervening years have seen many changes, our fundamental mission never has. This issue includes a special anniversary gallery of covers from our past to provide a glimpse of the road we’ve traveled together. Our cover stories over the past eight decades have carried the promise of an in-depth, rigorous look at an important issue that consumers can’t find anywhere else—and, naturally, our new special report, "What You Don't Know About Your Doctor Could Hurt You," is no exception.

Few consumer relationships in a person’s life are as intimate or as important as that between a patient and a doctor. That’s why we are shining a light on a critical weakness in our medical system: the ability to easily discover if your doctor is on probation for unprofessional or dangerous practices. We believe such information should be readily available to you so that you can make informed choices—and our cover story helps you unearth the information you need to find the doctor who’s right for you.

Our commitment to working with you to improve health outcomes is one we’ve held for a long time. ­Thirteen years ago, Consumer Reports launched the Safe Patient Project to raise the voices of consumers speaking up about hospital-­acquired infections. Today, more than 30 states, and counting, have heard your voices, and have responded by adopting laws to strengthen the reporting of infection rates. Federal laws have incentivized disclosure as well, bringing greater transparency and peace of mind to families across the country. These efforts—and the coverage in this month’s issue—are just the latest examples of our ongoing work with you to pull back the curtain on issues that impact your life.

New This Issue

An image of a collection of some Consumer Reports Magazine covers from its 80 years of publication.

To celebrate our 80th anniversary, you’ll find a feature this month that showcases our historic covers. You’ll also find, in this issue and throughout the year, timelines showing important consumer topics (scroll to the bottom of the page) we’ve covered and changes we’ve pioneered over the decades. Also see, for the first time, writer bylines. Though stories on our website have long carried bylines, the magazine has not routinely done so. We are starting this now in order to bring a human face to our stories and to encourage more engagement with you, our readers. Of course, all our content continues to reflect the contributions of an esteemed staff of engineers, scientists, doctors, and statisticians.  

Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the May 2016 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.