“Let your project go”

“Working against the very cause of freedom
is something that you need to approach very delicately….”

The Society’s project
once meant championing the very cause of freedom:


Thomas Jefferson, Architect of Freedom

NGM, February 1976

NGM September 1987

NGM September 1987

But then we let The Project go:

Chris Johns & Terry Adamson celebrate NGM's new publishing partnership in the People's Republic of China. (2007)

Chris Johns & Terry Adamson celebrate NGM’s new publishing partnership in the People’s Republic of China. (2007)


John Fahey National Geographic


Related posts:
The Elephant in The Room
Befriending Thugs Who Love The Planet
Adventures In Global Media
Thugs, Oppression, Global Media & Democracy

  • jay

    why don’t you let it go, sir. no one cares what you have to say, least of all national geographic. if the tax exempt status was at risk, then you would know. the reality is it’s rupuert murdoch’s national geographic, now. a large number of people have been ‘restructured’ out, including myself. cash is king and very soon amy maniatas and robert michael murray are going to be running the show. the marketing people are soon poised to tell ng who they are and rmm and his team are already hard at work tweeting and facebooking the non-stop engine that feeds this generations short attention spans. the television division has been gutted, the music division has been shuttered, the digital media group reassigned to specific departments, music-the best live programming this organization has ever seen was a victim of ‘restructuring,’ and the lectures division continues lecturing in the year 2012. the museum is a snore featuring one of the worst exhibits i have seen anywhere, ever this past summer. change is not always a bad thing but this settling for mediocrity while letting go some of the best and most original thinkers in the organization proves just what the leadership values. it’s not your ‘society.’ never was. never will be. no one cares about the hutterites. i get that you long for the good old days but they are gone. they sold it at christies/sothebies last week. essentially it’s the same good old white boy mentality running the place, though admittedly it was surprising to see them oust one of their own with the departure of tim kelly. on top of that, mr. fahey opens his mouth and says things that are breathtakingly ignorant. i believe you are committed to seeing a legacy brand maintain it’s aura of authority and excellence. you have not come close to getting fahey to concede that the content on the channel is horrible and offensive, nor has the channel suddenly awakened to their crap content. i ask the question again, why am i out of a job but fahey’s kid has a huge job for the top senior management at fox headquarters in los angeles? so many other things to look at that would really challenge the non-profit status that it’s disappointing to see you harp on tired topics that everyone has turned a deaf ear too.

    • Guest

      I feel your pain. I work at NG and cannot believe how this place has gone downhill within the past 15 years, really fast within the past 5 or so. For now, my division is still around, but it has been gutted. I can see it folding within the next 5 to 7 years, at the most. “Hire interns” and “NG Channel brings in the money” are the mantras—the business philosophy. Very sad situation all around…

      • And I feel your pain, Guest. But don’t panic. I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t think NGS could still turn this around.

        • Guest

          I would like to think that NGS could still turn around; however, I think a whole new business philosophy is needed along with the removal of executives (including the Board). Bring in people whose goals and philosophies are in line with the ideologies of the original NGS.

          • Joe Smith

            I’ve never been a whistleblower but admire those, like you, who have the gumption for it. The story of NGS isn’t just about NGS, it’s a microcosm of American business and culture.

          • God bless you, Joe Smith. Your comment — “The story of NGS isn’t just about NGS, it’s a microcosm of American business and culture” — is one I’ve said repeatedly, albeit in somewhat different form, to countless people since I launched Society Matters in 2009.

            NGS is simply the world writ small. But that’s why it’s such a wonderful subject — and worthwhile place to begin. For if we can’t fix what ails one city block in downtown DC, we have no hope of ever doing much that’s worthwhile for The Planet.

            Thanks so much for your comment, your insight, and for stopping by again.

    • Jay,

      Thanks very much for a great comment — and a great question: “Why don’t you let it go?” … Thanks too for answering your own question. I don’t “let it go” because what’s happening at NGS is jaw-dropping. It’s an amazing story. And one day it’ll no doubt make a great case study for Harvard Business School — a companion piece to this case study.

      Re: “longing for the good old days.” I don’t. I’ve never suggested that NGS do business the way we did back in 1970. But I do believe that some of the values that animated the institution back then still matter. They just need to be articulated & supported in new ways.

      Re: the impact this site is having on the discussions going on inside NGS — stay tuned.

      Keep in touch… and thanks again.

    • Joe Smith

      I understand you’ve given up, but that doesn’t mean everyone should. I don’t believe NGS will change direction, but I still see value in the expose, because it’s about more than NGS. NGS is just a ripe example of how far our culture has fallen.

      • I agree, Joe. Only thing I’d add is this: I’m not sure this is an exposé. After all, pretty much everything I post is already available elsewhere for all the world to see.

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