National Geographic lays off all of its staff writers

Washington DC - National Geographic has laid off all its staff writers, leaving the venerable, award-winning magazine to be pieced together by editors and freelancers.

National Geographic has laid off all of its staff writers at the magazine.
National Geographic has laid off all of its staff writers at the magazine.  © IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

In all, 19 editorial staffers were cut, including the small audio department at the magazine. They had been notified in April that the axe would fall, The Washington Post reported.

The layoffs are the latest in a slew of labor cuts at tech and media publications this year.

The writers themselves tweeted out the news, focusing on the great run they’d had.

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"My new National Geographic just arrived, which includes my latest feature – my 16th, and my last as a senior writer," wrote Craig Welch, whose award-winning work has graced many a cover and shed light on urgent environmental issues. "NatGeo is laying off all of its staff writers. I’ve been so lucky. I got to work (with) incredible journalists and tell important, global stories. It’s been an honor."

"National Geographic is laying off its staff writers, including me," he wrote on Twitter. "It’s been a wonderful five years – an honor and a joy. Very proud of the work that my colleagues and I have done here."

National Geographic sees subscriptions fall

National Geographic has seen its US subscriptions decline from 12 million in the 1980s to fewer than 2 million today.
National Geographic has seen its US subscriptions decline from 12 million in the 1980s to fewer than 2 million today.  © IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

Owned since 2019 by the Walt Disney Company, the 135-year-old chronicler of the natural world has seen a slew of job reductions over the past several years, including an unprecedented layoff of six top editors last September, the Post reported.

Founded by the National Geographic Society (which remains a minority partner) in 1888, the magazine was sold to 21st Century Fox in 2015.

Disney snagged a majority stake when it bought the Rupert Murdoch-controlled 21st Century Fox for $71 billion in 2019, per the Post. Before the Fox purchase, the magazine’s parent company cut 200 employees, or 9% of its staff, via layoffs and buyouts.

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The collectible magazine, chock full of articles and photos that took months to research and prepare, had 12 million US subscribers in its heyday in the 1980s and another few million more around the world, the Post noted.

At the end of 2022 it had less fewer than 2 million subscribers in the US.

Cover photo: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

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