National Geographic has reportedly laid off staff and the magazine will no longer be sold on US newsstands as of next year due to a new series of cuts by parent company Walt Disney Co. This news comes amid a series of large layoffs that have affected news organisations like CNN, Buzzfeed, and Vice Media. Departing staffers said on Wednesday that the magazine has curtailed the photo contracts that allowed its photographers to spend months in the field producing the publication’s iconic images.
Future editorial work will instead be done by freelance writers and the few editors remaining on staff. A National Geographic spokesperson has denied that the staffing changes would impact the publication’s work, saying that it will instead give them ‘flexibility to tell different stories and meet our audiences where they are across our many platforms’.
Journalists, photographers and readers of the publication have since taken to social media to express their sadness and disbelief at the news, sharing what made them love National Geographic and stories of growing up collecting the iconic yellow framed magazines. Writer Alice Driver said, ‘I grew up with National Geographic. It was my portal to the world in rural Arkansas…. I think my love for photography has its roots in that print magazine’.
National Geographic reached 12 million subscribers in the United States, with millions more overseas, at its peak in the late 1980s and it still is among the most widely read magazines in the United States.
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