National Geographic Magazine Reminds Me of a Blog

National Geographic is one of the best-adapted magazines (to the blogosphere). They have plenty of web content to supplement what they put in their magazine, and the print magazine itself reminds me of a blog.

Their articles are very blog-like, in writing style, and in the way they grab your attention. The articles open with a couple introductory paragraphs that immediately grab your interest, and convince you to keep reading, much like the way bloggers do. There are also a lot of pictures, that, again, help to grab your attention, and to break-up the blocks of text. Surely you’ve seen blog posts that kick-off with a big attention-grabbing image? Yes, there definitely are a few similarities between blog posts and NG’s articles. Luckily, though, the articles are not full of bulleted lists and “bolded” text!

The Letter’s page in the magazine reminds me of comments on a blog, albeit comments that sit in a moderation queue for a month. A lot of magazines have a section like this, but the way NG shows so many letters of opposing viewpoints, going back and forth, I almost thought I was scrolling through the comments on a blog.

Also, the short recurring features in National Geographic, like Photo Journal, remind me of the sorts of posts bloggers do on a regular basis, such as The Blog Herald’s WordPress Wednesday News.

It’s not just National Geographic. Computer magazines, especially, are really learning from the internet, and trying to integrate it into their business. Pick-up a copy of PC World. Their website,, has plenty of content found only there, and referenced in the magazine occasionally. They put shortened URLs in their magazine, a la TinyURL, using them as a print equivalent of hyperlinks. They collect comments from their forum, besides email. Sister publication Macworld even runs polls online, and publishes the results in the magazine.

I suppose you could say that blogs and magazines influence each other. Blogs are on the cutting edge now, pioneering techniques that will eventually be used by print media (which won’t be going away any time soon), and magazines and newspapers have done their share of influencing blogs. The aforementioned recurring features, were originally a “magazine thing,” taking the form of Departments, like in National Geographic, or of columns in newspapers.

Blogs have learned a bit from print publications, and now it’s the magazines’ turn to do the learning. So far, there have been pretty good results.

  • Marilyn Terrell

    Thanks Matt for comparing National Geographic to a blog!  You might like to know that NatGeo (where I work) is getting even bloggier. Just today they’ve announced a new sub-site called MY SHOT, where readers will get to create their own webpages on the NatGeo site, and display up to 100 of their own photographs, create and share albums, make their photos into these very cool jigsaw puzzles, and more.  The site is still in beta but here’s a sneak peek:

  • Matt

    The MyShot service sounds interesting. I’ll have to keep an eye on it.

    Glad you enjoyed my commentary on NatGeo.