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National Geographic Lays Off More Writers

National Geographic, the science and nature magazine that for more than a century has sent its writers and photographers to explore and document some of the most remote corners of the Earth, shed more writers and other staff members this week in a round of layoffs that had been announced in April.

The round of layoffs is the second at Washington-based magazine in the last year, after a number of top editors were laid off in September, and comes during a tumultuous time for the media industry as several news outlets have decreased head counts, including Buzzfeed, Los Angeles Times, Vox Media and The Washington Post.

The company that manages the publication, National Geographic Partners, said in a statement on Thursday that National Geographic “will continue to publish a monthly magazine that is dedicated to exceptional multiplatform storytelling with cultural impact.”

“Staffing changes will not change our ability to do this work, but rather give us more flexibility to tell different stories and meet our audiences where they are across our many platforms,” the company said, without specifying the number of people being laid off. “Any insinuation that the recent changes will negatively impact the magazine, or the quality of our storytelling, is simply incorrect.”

Those who were laid off had been informed in April and reached their final week of employment with the company this week. The magazine still has writers and editors on its staff, but the company would not say whether they are employed full-time or on a contractual basis.

The Walt Disney Company and the National Geographic Society, which own the magazine and its news site, did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Thursday.

The society, which is a nonprofit organization, announced a deal with 21st Century Fox in 2015 that was valued at $725 million, creating a for-profit joint partnership dubbed National Geographic Partners. Fox owned 73 percent of the partnership, and the National Geographic Society, owned 27 percent. That partnership became part of Disney in 2018 when the conglomerate acquired 21st Century Fox assets in a $71.3 billion deal.

The magazine is still well-read at a time when other magazines have lost subscribers or folded their print publications entirely. Through the end of last year, the magazine had more than 1.7 million subscribers, according to the Alliance for Audited Media, which audits publications.

National Geographic, which can be easily recognized on newsstands for the yellow border on its cover, has continued to report on natural wonders and archaeological finds from places all over the world, such as a gathering spot for elephants near Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and the ruins of Machu Picchu, the Inca city discovered in Peru in 1911.

The magazine, which was founded in 1888, grew over the decades from a single magazine to a multipronged media outlet with an edition of the magazine for children, a TV channel, podcasts, documentary series and international expeditions.

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Mohammad SHiblu

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