What’s so bad about selling the National Geographic brand to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp?

Murdoch’s scandal
becomes our headache.


  • Danny

    I’ve always appreciated the National Geographic’s sober, informative reporting. NG has always had a reputation of integrity for what, I always believed, was their mission to introduce us regular folk to our world, one place, person, thing, animal etc. at a time. I suppose my expectations for NatGeo tv may have been a little high, ok. NatGeo seems like it’s in a race to outdo the Discovery networks for mind-numbing, lowest common denominator crap. I’m simply amazed and a little saddened by this. I try to imagine myself, never having any introduction to NG by it’s magazine, as I have and consider; “what would I think NG was about, only having seen it’s tv self”? Maybe confused as to why this channel with “geographic” in it’s name is so obsessed with law and order or crime and punishment. Anyway, it’s just a shame that this crap is associated with the once good name of the National Geographic. Is this a result of Murdock’s association? He hasn’t infected the magazine, has he?

    • Hi Danny, 

      Thanks for your comment — especially this part: “”what would I think NG was about, only having seen it’s tv self”?” That’s a great question, largely because “the brand” that the Channel is trading on is largely a pre-TV one; that is, the associations lots of people make when they hear “National Geographic” are related more to the Magazine or to NG’s blue-chip documentaries of yesteryear and less to “Taboo: Prison Love.” But as you suggest, that’s probably going to change over time, to the detriment of the Society. 

      Has Murdoch “infected the magazine”? I don’t think the editorial content has gone down market the way the Channel has, but (as I’ve documented extensively) the pressures of globalization have changed the way NGM talks about “the world and all that is in it.” 

      The other impact: the Society, which once was largely dependent on dues from members, is now driven far more by advertising. Cross-platform sales — that is, selling an ad package to Ford that cover all NG’s various media platforms, from TV to web to Magazine — creates its own pressures, which has resulted in a Magazine where the “front of the book” (where the ads are located) now consumes about 1/3 of the publication. The ad-free part — the feature well — seems to have shrunk dramatically. … Someone on the business side told me years ago that this glut of advertisements in the front has resulted in a “horrible reader experience.” I tend to agree. 

      Thanks again for your comment — and for stopping by.

  • guest

    Very well said — both Danny and Alan. 

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