MCOM 458 (magazine analysis)

Award Winning Consumer Magazine Analysis

National Geographic



National Geographic caters to a wide variety of people starting from there twenties and up. The magazine focuses on history, geography, and world culture so mostly a well-educated audience reads it. A majority of the readers have completed graduate school and are married. According to, National Geographic has a predominately female audience. National Geographic promotes adventure so the audience may be more health conscious and curious. For the February issue in particular it seems as though they are aiming towards a more male audience because the issue is all about “The Birth of Booze.” The ads in national Geographic cater to a variety of ages. One ad is for a NatGeo student travel experience while another ad is for Raisin Brand. Other ads are for mortgage apps and Cannon cameras. Its total circulation is 6.1 globally


Editorial Philosophy

National Geographic magazine was founded by the national geographic society in 1888 to “increase and diffuse geographic knowledge.” Their mission is to empower people to navigate the world and uncover the wonders of our time ( Their stories are innovative and representative of a new generation. The thing that sets National Geographic apart from its competitors is its visual storytelling. Their high definition photos are world-renowned.


Editorial Formula

National geographic splits its magazines into four different categories including critical issues, health, space and innovation, and adventure and exploration. They then decide which month goes into each category and cover the topic accordingly. For example, a cover story about droughts would typically occur in an April issue because that’s when the issue of droughts becomes more prevalent. Regular features usually include environmental issues or small traveling stories.



The National Geographic Society founded and owned the magazine and network until 2015 when they sold part of the magazine to 21st Century Fox for $725 million. Fox controls 73 percent of the magazine and network while the National Geographic society still controls 27 percent. Fox plays as a financial lifeline for the magazine, which will increase spending on research and travel ( The National Geographic society first pair with fox in 1997 to create the National Geographic channel. National Geographic has a staff of over 2,000 people. In 2015 they announced that they were laying off 9 percent of their employees, which was the biggest cut in history for them. NatGeo also comes out with a traveling magazine that is published eight times a year with “fresh travel opportunities” (


Advertising/Editorial Ratio

National Geographic magazine has 133 pages, out of those pages only 13 had advertisements. This means there is one ad for every 10.2 pages. Ads range anywhere from $296,000-$29,000 depending on size and color.



The magazines editorial content matches its mission and audience very well. Its goal is to keep people current on world-culture and geography. One of the articles in this months edition is called Modern Amazonia, which is about how tribes in Brazil have to fight for their land, which is being taken over by industrial farming and ranching and how they’ve had to resort to violence in order to reclaim their land. Another article is called “Life After Loss” and it’s about how widows are fighting back. Usually after women in other countries are widowed they lose all of their belongings and are subjects of vulnerability. This article covers women from Bosnia to Uganda to India and so on.



The design has an even balance of writing and photographs. The articles are longer which matches the magazines older audience. The vivid pictures are eye catching for people of all ages. The magazine also has a lot of graphs and maps, which is better for a more visual audience. The pictures are diverse in showing people from different cultures and different walks of life, which is what the magazines mission aims to do.


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