Rupert Murdoch Takes Over at National Geographic, Immediately Starts Laying off Award-Winning Staff

It's as bad as many of us feared. In spite of happy talk like, "Oh, his son will be running it and he's different," "Rupert wouldn't destroy an asset like Nat Geo," etc., the axe fell on Tuesday.


The memo went out, and November 3rd 2015 came to the National Geographic office. This was the day in which Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox took over National Geographic. The management of National Geographic sent out an email telling its staff, all of its staff, all to report to their headquarters, and wait by their phones. This pulled back every person who was in the field, every photographer, every reporter, even those on vacation had to show up on this fateful day.

As these phones rang, one by one National Geographic let go the award-winning staff, and the venerable institution was no more.

The name now belongs to Rupert Murdoch, and he has plans for it. The CEO of National Geographic Society, Greg Knell, tried to claim back in September that “there won’t be an [editorial] turn in a direction that is different from the National Geographic heritage.” Murdoch’s move today only served to prove Knell’s words hollow, with hundreds of talented people now served their pink slips. And with the recognition that Murdoch’s other enterprises do not reflect the standards held by National Geographic, and with Murdoch’s history of changing the editorial direction of purchased properties, today’s move indicates that we can expect a similar shift for National Geographic.

Rupert Murdoch - National Geographic Layoffs

Since the above-quoted article made it sound as if virtually everyone was laid off, I googled and found more:

National Geographic Society sets biggest layoff in its history

The National Geographic Society of Washington will lay off about 180 of its 2,000-member workforce in a cost-cutting move that follows the sale of its famous magazine and other assets to a company controlled by Rupert Murdoch.

The reduction, the largest in the organization’s 127-year history, appears to affect almost every department of the nonprofit organization, including the magazine, which the society has published since just after its founding in 1888. It also will affect people who work for the National Geographic Channel, the most profitable part of the organization. Several people in the channel’s fact-checking department, for example, were terminated on Tuesday, employees said...

In addition to the layoffs and buyouts, National Geographic Society said it would freeze its pension plan for eligible employees, eliminate medical coverage for future retirees and change its contributions to an employee 401(k) plan so that all employees receive the same percentage contribution.

National Geographic Society Sets Biggest Layoff in Its History

Other articles hint that this may just be the beginning of the layoffs. Many tweeters and FB commenters see it as the beginning of the end of Nat Geo. Typical comment: "National Geographic, 1888 - 2015. RIP."

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