It can't be argued that National Geographic still features excellent photography of a wide variety of subjects, but the written content of this famous publication has declined to the point of self-parody. NG still commissions a few notable journalists (Alma Guillermoprieto's contributions are invariably excellent), but contributions by the likes of Frank Viviano, William Allard, etc. are characterized by a thoroughly unprofessional (and distinctly American) tendency to express their personal opinions and experiences in their articles, which are typically distinguished by the most nauseatingly saccharine, humanist perspectives. If you're looking for journalistic objectivity, you'll only find it sporadically here, and mostly in articles pertaining to the fundamental sciences or their relation to technology.
Some of the topics that NG explored in 2006 were incredibly mundane. These included extensive cover stories concerning a scientific examination of the nature of love and (I swear to god this is true) the worldwide appeal of soccer. In the latter issue, one of the maps that we readers usually expect was substituted by a fold-out poster featuring photos and drawings of soccer players and fields, and percentage rates indicating the game's popularity in different continents. If you think that I'm lying, check out the June 2006 issue and witness this inanity for yourself. Again: these were cover stories, not articles buried somewhere in their respective issues. The relative lack of variety in the magazine's subject matter is also discouraging. I don't mind NG's preoccupation with environmental topics; while it's colored with a variety of pessimistic fatalism that's obviously tailored to appeal to moderate leftists with an interest in these subjects, these issues are quite important and worthy of discussion in this magazine. But in the course of one year, I was treated to no fewer than three articles on the topic of evolution, none of which conveyed anything that I (a layman on the topic) didn't know or any conclusions whatsoever: puff pieces, essentially. And of course, the season kicked off with an article on the Grand Canyon. Beautifully shot and hastily written, and I know what the Grand Canyon looks like. I know all about it. In my relatively short (shy of three decades) life, I've read no fewer than six National Geographic articles on the Grand Canyon. Thanks so much for yet another, but I already know about the Grand Canyon; this article didn't tell or show me anything that I didn't know about it, for god's sake. The ZipUSA feature is aimless and uninteresting, mostly an exhibit for how commonplace most of the USA is. I don't know if anybody else has noticed this, but it seems as though the correspondence featured in the magazine's letters section is often cherry-picked for the most vapid and (appropriately) leftist commentary of its reader base.
The thing is, I still can't dismiss NG. For every lousy article in an issue, there's one that fascinates: a photographed review of present-day Chernobyl, Prince Charles' conservationist efforts in Cornwall, unearthed Peruvian mummies, and so on. But nothing here is worth the absurd cost of an annual subscription, especially considering that there's a lot of advertising in every issue. If NG wants advice, here it is: trim the fat. Dump some of your ads and all of your trite articles (about half of the content in any given issue). Either halve the length of your issues or move to a bimonthly format, restore the detailed maps that your customers want, and for god's sake, lower the price. My grandmother had a traditional devotion to this now-bloated magazine, but its higher standard of quality justified her custom back then. There's no reason why I can't just drive or walk to my local library and check out the latest issue at no cost.
Was once a stellar magazine and "family" style business (late 1800's to 2000). Since then, IMHO, the quality has declined along with the content in the magazine.
Have not received the magazine yet.
Its been a month, and I do not think magazine subscriptions get started in that time. Need to wait for a few more weeks to evaluate.
I made a gift subscription for this magazine, National Geographic in December 2009. And am still wondering if the first copy has been delivered to the address. I can give a proper review only when i get a confirmation that the magazine has already been posted to the address!!!!
Prepare to wait a lifetime for your first issue
I ordered this subscription to National Geographic in late August. Afterwards, I'm told I wont even get my first issue until late November. So prepare to wait a lifetime if you subscribe here. You may or may not have better luck through the publisher's direct website.
Where is my Subscription?
I subscribed in December 2009. It is now February 2010 and still no sign of this magazine.
A fallen star, very disappointing
I have a collection that goes back to 1965, and I have been a subscriber for some 20 years. The magazine; however, has become the province of the radical environmetalist movement. The editorial content leans heavily toward the left, and the choice and variety of articles has degenerated over the years. Even the quality of the writing has been eroded as the magazine tries to reach a wider audience with its leftist environmental propaganda. In sum, a great publication has been hijacked by a group of irrational environmentalists who have little interest in any subject other than trees and the occasional politically correct topic.
Used to be great, now it is mere political
I picked up a copy recently and found the same mind-numbing drivel (regarding salmon in the Northwest) that can be found at any uber-leftist commune. All slant, even the facts.
If the magazine is that far off base on something that I know quite a lot about, how can I trust anything else that it prints from parts of the world that I don't know?...I can't.
One photo on 12, 2009. In the article another tibet, a picture of local disco is obviously faked. Look at the face , just some stupid actors. It is not real. There is no equipment in that disco. The door is not the disco should have. These doors must be anti-fire, then they can get the permit to run business. As a person have 20 years experience living there, this faked photo is unacceptable. You should be ashamed.
You think a magazine such as National Geographic would be about facts and true reporting of those facts of the world we are living in today. But , no, the Arab states money has clouded their facts slightly and made them into something of a fiction. They tried to change the Persian Gulf to Arabian Gulf, thinking no one would notice???? Well, Persia was there thousands of years a go and its one of the oldest civilisations of the world. New Arabian money can not and will not change that history and will not rename the Persian Gulf. Changing history usually happens when parts of history have been forgotten. Well iran and Iranians live and their history has not and will never be forgotten. As long as one Iranian lives , Persian gulf will remain Persian.