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Not sure what their subscription magazines are going to look now. I remember when I was going to school (circa year 2004) a National Geographic photographer came to give a demonstration of her photos. She was an Ivy school graduate that just happened to be lucky enough to be recruited by the magazine. I was living in Washington DC at the time and there also was a National Geographic museum located a few blocks away from my job. This museum use to display exotic artifacts that you could not find any where else in the world.  I use to visit there during my lunch hours. I still have a subscription to their History Magazine that they put out every 3 months. National Geographic was an outstanding magazine that you had to base you own pictures against. Unfortunately, I think we are over saturated with online image these days, that we take everything for granted....   

Edited by hjoseph7
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  • 5 weeks later...

Thanks for this, Nick. Your post prompted me to read some of the news reports on this final round of 'staffer' cuts with the exception of a few video staff. I've never been a NG subscriber but it's been an 'institition' during my lifetime. My 'goto' magazine in waiting rooms.

TBH., the cuts don't suprise me so much these days when so many (most?) other 'media outlets' have been cutting 'staffers' for years in favor of outsourcing work to external suppliers and freelancers.

Although the NG cost-cutting was reportedly driven by the 21st century Fox/Disney ownership partnership, it's been going on for years too. I guess that this was the final cut.

It's sad that - at some stage - NG became no longer financially viable and was sold to Fox. My personal take is that the 'magazine market' has changed enormously over the past 20-30 years. As an old guy, I still remember the time when there were a smaller number of 'main' (authoratative/attractive) magazines in every genre that stood head and shoulders above the rest. Nowadays, whenever I go into a shop that sells magazines, I've overwhelmed by the choice in whatever genre.

Added to that, the consumption of 'printed media' has steadily decreased in favor of digital media over the same period. So perhaps many more people nowadays are tuning in to the NG TV channels (with their advertising revenue income) than are subscribing to the NG magazine. I expect, at least, that the NG execs (and their bosses) have a pretty good idea of where the trends are heading.

But - as NG itself says - not all is lost. Outsourcing and hiring freelancers for specific projects does give NG more flexibility. Paying staffers to travel to remote places and spend months in the field for 1 article and a couple of outanding photos is probably not the best 'business model' these days. Perhaps a better one (just my fantasy) is to look at submitted 'oustanding photos' and send a freelancer out to write up an article.

I'm an (ex-pat) Brit and I take comfort in the fact that many excellent (and highly popular!) BBC series are produced not by BBC 'staffers' (as they once used to be) but by 'suppliers' contracted by the BBC.

So when all's said and done, my personal opinion is that the transition from 'staffer' (for many ex-staffers) to 'supplier' is mainly a question of adjusting the 'business organization'.  Less fixed overheads, more projects.

This trend could of course become reversed. There was a time when many IT-companies were all-in for 'out-sourcing' their development and operational activities to (cheaper) other countries. More recently - as out-source country costs have risen - some companies have decided to bring (some of) their activities back to their home country.

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  • 3 months later...

Hmmm

i know I’m late in commenting here but this speaks volumes to me. Cutting payrolled staff is a trend that continues but IMO labor is the low hanging fruit. Further up the proverbial “money tree” is where the real costs of operating are- but it’s closer to ground level where the day-to-day, nuts-&-bolts stuff actually gets done. 
Sadly, we never hear of any companies cutting costs by eliminating high salary, executive corporate bloat. It’s always the “little people” at the bottom of the food chain that take the hit. 

It’s such a strong trend that “staffer” cuts have spawned a whole new segment of the economy: the “new” gig economy workforce - largely people who used to have actual “jobs” but now essentially work for themselves, sometimes or often at the very places, certainly in the same industries, where they once had salary & benefits. 


That said, NG has always been an excellent, informative, educational and especially vital source for showing us the World’s sheer Humanity- from the comfort of our very own toilet seats (!! ha ha !!), or perhaps, our living rooms.
 

I know everything changes but sometimes not for the better. NG was once super ubiquitous; it was virtually everywhere! Images of obscure peoples and places or articles and photos of interesting things in nature were at everybody’s fingertips! IMO access to all that exists “out there” in The World spawned awareness of things beyond our realm, sparking imaginations and fostering understanding & compassion for all people in all time.

In the 21st century, sadly, instead of progressing towards the proverbial light, we are, in so many ways, backsliding into a world of darkness where an outright lack of compassion dominates, & education is both devalued and under attack. Bizarrely, as the Internet has grown exponentially, peoples’ worlds have somehow shrunk dramatically. So instead of NG having a strong presence pretty much everywhere, it is now reduced to “content”, presented in the back channels of cable packages with way too much, often repetitive BS taking precedent over quality programming. 

 

 

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On 11/27/2023 at 1:09 PM, Ricochetrider said:

Hmmm

i know I’m late in commenting here but this speaks volumes to me. Cutting payrolled staff is a trend that continues but IMO labor is the low hanging fruit. Further up the proverbial “money tree” is where the real costs of operating are- but it’s closer to ground level where the day-to-day, nuts-&-bolts stuff actually gets done. 
Sadly, we never hear of any companies cutting costs by eliminating high salary, executive corporate bloat. It’s always the “little people” at the bottom of the food chain that take the hit. 

It’s such a strong trend that “staffer” cuts have spawned a whole new segment of the economy: the “new” gig economy workforce - largely people who used to have actual “jobs” but now essentially work for themselves, sometimes or often at the very places, certainly in the same industries, where they once had salary & benefits. 


That said, NG has always been an excellent, informative, educational and especially vital source for showing us the World’s sheer Humanity- from the comfort of our very own toilet seats (!! ha ha !!), or perhaps, our living rooms.
 

I know everything changes but sometimes not for the better. NG was once super ubiquitous; it was virtually everywhere! Images of obscure peoples and places or articles and photos of interesting things in nature were at everybody’s fingertips! IMO access to all that exists “out there” in The World spawned awareness of things beyond our realm, sparking imaginations and fostering understanding & compassion for all people in all time.

In the 21st century, sadly, instead of progressing towards the proverbial light, we are, in so many ways, backsliding into a world of darkness where an outright lack of compassion dominates, & education is both devalued and under attack. Bizarrely, as the Internet has grown exponentially, peoples’ worlds have somehow shrunk dramatically. So instead of NG having a strong presence pretty much everywhere, it is now reduced to “content”, presented in the back channels of cable packages with way too much, often repetitive BS taking precedent over quality programming. 

 

 

Everything is interconnected in our world. With real manufacturing been moved overseas to cheap labor jurisdictions, Western La Belle Époque is over. Income inequality is steadily killing our society.

We have more billionaires then we ever had, but we never had so many homeless people as well.

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"That said, NG has always been an excellent, informative, educational and especially vital source for showing us the World’s sheer Humanity- from the comfort of our very own toilet seats (!! ha ha !!), or perhaps, our living rooms."

I'm not really sure what caused their downfall ? Other magazines seem to be doing fine and some are even thriving. National Geographic offered a unique view of the world in that they photographed far-off, distant, exotic places that no one would think going to, or have the means to get to. Is there such a magazine now ? Did the world wide web have something to do with people losing interest in far-off, distant and exotic places ?

Maybe it was the news-stand cost of the Magazine which wasn't cheap ? NatGeo hired some of the best photographers in the world and the equiment they used for assignments was top-notch.  They even mentioned what equipment was used on some assignments.

I got a letter from them the other day being that I subscribe to their quaterly History Magazine, but I threw it away by mistake with the rest of the junk mail. Sure wish I knew what they had to say. Probably that my subscription would end by the end of the year.

In any case, according to their website, for 2024 and beyond, they will be focusing on their Digital Subscriptions(never knew they had one). Some subscribers will still receive a hard-copy at the end of the month. Occasionally a "special edition"  hard-copy magazine might appear at a a news-stand.  Not sure how thety are going to pull this off since Disney the Parent company laid every body off. I can imagine now having to log into a computer while on a long Flight instead of just picking up a copy at the airport news-stand. 

Maybe this exceprt might give you a better idea of what is going on: Disney is the parent company of NatGeo. Disney bought National Geographic in 2019. In just a few years they managed to run it to the ground, as usual. 

"Disney CEO Bob Iger announced a $5.5 billion plan to cut costs across the company in February. The entertainment goliath has since fired 7,000 employees in multiple rounds of layoffs. One of Iger’s priorities is to turn around struggling streaming service Disney+.

   

 

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  • 1 month later...

National Geographic was and still is my second Bible since 1st grade, 1960.  LIFE Magazine was my sister's second Bible.  My sister and I cleaned demolition-site bricks for recycling to buy a lifetime subscription for 100 dollars back then.  National Geographic and LIFE Magazine lured my sister and I towards getting a full scholarship and out of a lousy hood.  She went into the Air Force and served as a nurse anesthetist and I served as a 2nd Marine Corpsman. 

We both killed thousands of rolls of Kodachrome and Ektachrome while we were in uniform.  We linked up many times and traveled together visiting many places we dreamed of in elementary school.  All influenced by the great imagery of National Geographic.  I've got 57 nations to her 61.  We've even done a few Doctors Without Borders together since leaving the military.  

We have at least two of every hardcover special edition National Geographic ever published, every magazine and every map too.  Lucy was a Leica-girl and I was a Nikon dude.  We've both been Pentax since going Digital back in 2006-7.  

 

_IGP2773.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

I had subscriptions to Popular Photography and Popular Electronics when I was young, maybe from when I was 10.

I don't remember now which came first.

My parents had National Geographic, though.

 

When I first read this article, I went and bought a copy of the complete set on DVD.

 

I have an only second hand story about NG photographers.

My dad is in the December 1966 issue, and they sent someone out to take the picture.

First, he uses a Polaroid camera instead of a light meter.   First shot, all black.

Next one closer.  After some tries, he leaves until the next day.

 

Comes back with a brand new projector screen, and cuts a big circle out of it.

Then a rectangular piece.

The final image is a triple exposure.

If anyone happens to have a copy, I will explain how it was done.

-- glen

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