Saddest news of the week


As a child I spent hours camped in front of yellow stacks of National Geographic magazines. I don’t think my parents ever threw out a copy. Each was cherished as a repository of scientific fact, a ready reference for all the latest, most fascinating information and most beautiful nature photography. And maps! Tucked in each issue was a folded map, exquisitely detailed, inviting extensive study. Those National Geographics were my natural science classroom. They encouraged, even required, my reading at ever higher levels. Even the ads in the back were interesting. Cruises and expeditions to all sorts of exotic places. Assortments of unusual stamps to buy from countries I’d never heard of. (Many of those stamps eventually appeared in my stamp collection).

Rupert Murdoch as owner of the National Geographic? Better they close their doors now.

14 thoughts on “Saddest news of the week

  1. Murdoch owning the NG is of course a component of the income disparity problem that Bernie Sanders is railing about. To Rupert and his ilk, the publishing business is like a game of Monopoly. Once you own more properties and hotels than the other players, the game is pretty much over. It is inconceivable to me that he wouldn’t be tempted to play around with each new toy he acquires. Bummer.

    1. That’s it, of course. Just another acquisition. He cares nothing about the publication itself, but I don’t trust him not to muck around with the content since he’s an avowed climate change denier (can’t have NG putting out any real science … ). Not to mention having zero journalistic ethics.

  2. If you’re a subscriber to NG you’ve already seen a complete format change — and I had already decided that I would not renew my subscription prior to the Murdoch-acquisition announcement. I should have anticipated that the magazine was going to be sold when the format was drastically changed. It’s sad for me after over fifty years’ subscribing to it.

    1. In truth I’ve not held a copy in my hands for many years. But a complete format change would be ominous indeed. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! In any case, I could not bring myself to knowingly subscribe to a Murdoch publication.

    1. That was my first reaction. I’d not been following the goings on at NG and evidently financing had become a problem, as it has for most print publications in recent years. So Murdoch buying it hit me out of the blue, and I’m just devastated. I really do wish they’d just close up shop now rather than suffer a lingering but inevitable death as a Murdoch publication.

  3. Agree. Just wrote a piece on my “other” bog, The Tin Lizard, on this. I’m a 60-year subscriber but the magazine was getting boring and I was noodling over whether to cancel. Now I know. Murdoch MAY try to uphold the quality of content (for all we know, he’s an admirer too) but I have my doubts.

    For what it’s worth, the National Geographic Society says this will free resources for its more important work, financing explorations, expanding knowledge of and interest in geography,

    1. Yes, I’ve read a couple of articles where the NG folks try to put a positive spin on this. I wish them luck, but I suspect subscribers are dropping them like a hot rock. Murdoch is poison to good journalism and a diehard climate change skeptic (putting it as nicely as I can).

      After one of those articles, a commenter posed an excellent question, asking why, if the NGS has been in financial trouble, philanthropists haven’t been stepping forward to help. Made me wonder what’s really going on.

  4. Coming over from Ronnie’s blog.
    This is such a good looking blog. I really like the formatting. You must be a pro!
    I was struck with what you wrote about the NG maps, which I always liked a lot.
    It’s alarming that Murdoch can just waltz in with his money and take over an important cultural asset like the National Geographic.

    1. Hi, Hattie. Welcome, and thank you.
      Murdoch and those like him are just plain scary. Having enough money to buy and control anything you want, just because it will fatten your portfolio, doesn’t mean you should. And yet they do because they can. So disheartening.

... and that's my two cents