Rise and Fall of National Geographic | What happened to National Geographic Society & Magazine 2023


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# What Happened to National Geographic?

## History of the National Geographic Society
Let’s dive into the history of the National Geographic Society. Back in 1888, a group of scientists and explorers gathered in Washington, D.C. to establish a society for the increase and diffusion of geographical knowledge. Gardiner Greene Hubbard was elected as the first president, followed by Alexander Graham Bell. The Society’s focus on narrative photography in magazines attracted members and solidified its place in the world of exploration and education.

## The National Geographic Society’s Brushes with Controversy
Despite its success, National Geographic has faced its fair share of controversies. From the publication of photos featuring unclothed tribal women to allegations of bribery involving Dr. Zahi Hawass, the Society has had to navigate difficult situations. Subscription numbers have fluctuated over the years, with changes in editorial focus impacting reader retention.

## The Deal with FOX and Disney
In the early 90s, National Geographic made a deal with Rupert Murdoch’s Fox media empire in an effort to remain solvent. This partnership eventually led to National Geographic becoming part of Disney’s portfolio after a $52 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox. The move into television and for-profit media caused tension within the Society, as members grappled with the shift in mission and values.

## The Impact on National Geographic’s Reputation
The transition to a for-profit model and the production of reality TV shows like « Doomsday Preppers » and « Nazi War Diggers » tarnished National Geographic’s reputation. The clash between the traditional magazine staff and the new television arm highlighted the challenges of maintaining a cohesive brand identity. Despite initial success with shows like « Doomsday Preppers, » the decision to prioritize ratings over integrity ultimately damaged the company’s image.

In conclusion, the evolution of National Geographic from a respected educational institution to a media conglomerate has been marked by both successes and missteps. As the Society grapples with its identity in a rapidly changing media landscape, the future of National Geographic remains uncertain.


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