In September of this year, it was announced that National Geographic Magazine, once considered to be the paragon of well researched scientific and cultural reporting, was to be put into the slimy hands of schlockmeister Rupert Murdoch.
According to the Washington Post, the magazine had been taken over by a partnership headed by 21st Century Fox in exchange for a reported $725 million. The takeover was followed by the November, 3 layoff of 180 of the Iconic magazine’s employees.
Several days ago, the first Murdoch-controlled issue of National Geographic hit the newsstands with the title, “Strange but True: Secrets of the Supernatural Revealed.” The issue and the takeover in general sparked much indignation with scientists, journalist and society members.
Caroline Wazer of the website, Historybuff.com called the issue, “depressing,” saying that the writing is “tabloidy” and many of the topics mentioned in the issue are not “supernatural” at all, but actual things such as Stonehenge and Chinese medicine.
Some readers took to Twitter to express their outrage at the takeover, suggesting that Mr. Murdoch, who Is a climate change sceptic, is not the ideal publisher for a magazine known for its commitment to educating its readers with thoroughly researched and substantiated scientific facts.
— Ray Muzyka (@RayMuzyka) November 24, 2015
— Richard Melick (@RCMelick) November 24, 2015
Murdoch has the ability to totally wipe out National Geographic if he tries to treat it like his newspapers. https://t.co/O5JdArLqhU
— Darren 🇦🇺 🏳️🌈 on Boon Wurrung land (@djmer1) November 23, 2015
Like so many publications, National Geographic has been hurt by the proliferation of online media. According to the post article, the magazine had a circulation of about 12 million copies in the late 1980s; today, it is more like 6 million and advertising sales have steadily declined.
The National Geographic Society, which began publishing its magazine in 1888, will retain twenty six percent of the control of its magazine and cable channel.
UPDATE, 12/2/15: While it’s true that this issue of Nat Geo came out after the deal with Murdoch, it was in production before the deal, and therefore likely has no connection to Murdoch.
Featured image via Imgur