It’s Here: National Geographic Magazine – July 2009

ngmjuly2009coverMy first stop: the Editor’s Note—and not simply because it appears on page 4.

As I wrote in my first post, the Editor’s note is a keystone to the Society’s future because…

… almost five million people still pay attention to National Geographic. The opportunity to address such a huge crowd is rare—a gift, really—in a world buzzing with distractions. One person—NGM’s Editor in Chief—has the privilege and responsibility of addressing this enormous audience each month via his one-page Editor’s Note. From this virtual podium, strategically positioned at the front of the Magazine, he has the chance to inform, inspire, and lead. The question is: With almost five million people listening, what is he saying?….”

You can read his July 2009 message here.

  • Alan,
    I plead the grandmother clause in regards to the question what is he saying.
    And I respectfully disagree with your comment on the website. As a reader, I’m not even remotely interested in U.S. State fairs. Heck, I can go to my state fair, and even when I’m experiencing the real thing it’s only good for a few hours. Why would I want to open a magazine whose name is synonymous with exotic cultures and ancient civilizations to read about funnel cakes, cotton candy, and rickety midway rides? It feels disturbingly nostalgic and symbolic, as if the story is a living testament to the idea that better days are in the rear view mirror.
    KE

    • Hi Kevin,

      Thanks for checking in & for your comment. I’m flattered you actually found time to write — esp given what must be happening at VOA during the uprising in Iran.

      Re: state fairs — I think NGM should do both types of stories—the exotic cultures & ancient civilizations PLUS funnel cakes & midway rides. It should be about Us AND about Not Us. The Magazine should explore the world out there while remaining anchored to our life at home. And by home I don’t mean The Planet; I mean my mailing address. That’s where I live, where I’m raising my kids, where I pay my taxes, and where I’m part of a community.

      Stories like State Fairs don’t feel nostalgic or symbolic to me. Lots of people still attend & enjoy them. The only real nostalgia was in Chris Johns’ Editor’s Note: “I got busted at the milk shake stand at my first state fair….” Otherwise, you’re right there on the ground with Keillor & Sartore — as “the big wheel whirls and the girls squeal and the bratwursts cook on the little steel rollers and the boys slouch around and keep checking their hair.” (Coming soon to a fairgrounds near you.)

      This story about corn dog chomps & fried Coco-Cola happens to be a graphic—and important—contrast to what’s happening right now in Iran, where one culture is battling another. What Peggy Noonan says about Iran in today’s Wall Street Journal is what NGM—our “official journal”—should be saying about our society & our Society each & every month: “Americans, and the West, should be who they are, friends of freedom.” http://tr.im/paCt

      The National Geographic Society: Inspiring people to care about the planet the people

      Now there’s a mission statement that can still draw a crowd.

  • Alan,
    I plead the grandmother clause in regards to the question what is he saying.
    And I respectfully disagree with your comment on the website. As a reader, I’m not even remotely interested in U.S. State fairs. Heck, I can go to my state fair, and even when I’m experiencing the real thing it’s only good for a few hours. Why would I want to open a magazine whose name is synonymous with exotic cultures and ancient civilizations to read about funnel cakes, cotton candy, and rickety midway rides? It feels disturbingly nostalgic and symbolic, as if the story is a living testament to the idea that better days are in the rear view mirror.
    KE

    • Hi Kevin,

      Thanks for checking in & for your comment. I’m flattered you actually found time to write — esp given what must be happening at VOA during the uprising in Iran.

      Re: state fairs — I think NGM should do both types of stories—the exotic cultures & ancient civilizations PLUS funnel cakes & midway rides. It should be about Us AND about Not Us. The Magazine should explore the world out there while remaining anchored to our life at home. And by home I don’t mean The Planet; I mean my mailing address. That’s where I live, where I’m raising my kids, where I pay my taxes, and where I’m part of a community.

      Stories like State Fairs don’t feel nostalgic or symbolic to me. Lots of people still attend & enjoy them. The only real nostalgia was in Chris Johns’ Editor’s Note: “I got busted at the milk shake stand at my first state fair….” Otherwise, you’re right there on the ground with Keillor & Sartore — as “the big wheel whirls and the girls squeal and the bratwursts cook on the little steel rollers and the boys slouch around and keep checking their hair.” (Coming soon to a fairgrounds near you.)

      This story about corn dog chomps & fried Coco-Cola happens to be a graphic—and important—contrast to what’s happening right now in Iran, where one culture is battling another. What Peggy Noonan says about Iran in today’s Wall Street Journal is what NGM—our “official journal”—should be saying about our society & our Society each & every month: “Americans, and the West, should be who they are, friends of freedom.” http://tr.im/paCt

      The National Geographic Society:
      Inspiring people to care about the planet the people

      Now there’s a mission statement that can still draw a crowd.

  • Alan,
    Maybe I’m cynical, or maybe having spent most every year of my childhood walking under Big Tex at the Texas State Fair I’ve just seen the best and the heck with the rest. But in any case, I would never put myself out there as an arbiter of what the world wants, just what I want.

    Regarding Iran, I’ve been deep in this story all week. I know I don’t need to tell you this, but what you are seeing has struck me as eerily reminiscent of Tiananmen (which I also covered) back in the day except for one important thing… the cameras can’t go dark here. When the cables were cut in Tiananmen we all knew the worst was happening, but we were literally struck blind. Here there are no cables, there is only bandwidth, and the people who are shooting in cellphones, on flip cams, who are tweeting and posting on facebook are ensure that the flow of media is as unstoppable as the tide.
    It is astonishing, and as a devotee of freedom of expression as all good journalists are, humbling.
    If we (and I mean big media and also repressive governments, not to link the two) don’t see our future in what is happening in the streets of Iran, we’re blind or stupid. I believe this moment has repercussions for both Democracy and journalism that will be studied.

  • Alan,
    Maybe I’m cynical, or maybe having spent most every year of my childhood walking under Big Tex at the Texas State Fair I’ve just seen the best and the heck with the rest. But in any case, I would never put myself out there as an arbiter of what the world wants, just what I want.

    Regarding Iran, I’ve been deep in this story all week. I know I don’t need to tell you this, but what you are seeing has struck me as eerily reminiscent of Tiananmen (which I also covered) back in the day except for one important thing… the cameras can’t go dark here. When the cables were cut in Tiananmen we all knew the worst was happening, but we were literally struck blind. Here there are no cables, there is only bandwidth, and the people who are shooting in cellphones, on flip cams, who are tweeting and posting on facebook are ensure that the flow of media is as unstoppable as the tide.
    It is astonishing, and as a devotee of freedom of expression as all good journalists are, humbling.
    If we (and I mean big media and also repressive governments, not to link the two) don’t see our future in what is happening in the streets of Iran, we’re blind or stupid. I believe this moment has repercussions for both Democracy and journalism that will be studied.

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