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Alaska Dispatch: What happened to National Geographic?

Cover of January, 1915 National Geographic Mag...
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Alan Mairson | Dec 29, 2011

My heart sank a few weeks ago when Craig Medred posted his scathing criticism of the National Geographic Channel’s Alaska State Troopers, a “reality” TV series that’s painfully short on reality. The National Geographic Society “used to be a bastion of journalistic integrity,” Medred writes. “Nowadays it feels compelled to ... concoct outlandish bear dangers to increase television market share? Talk about tarnishing a once-iconic brand.”
“What happened to National Geographic?” Medred asks.
I’ve been wrestling with the same question for years. From 1990 until 2008, I proudly served as a staff writer and editor for National Geographic magazine, and I’m still a loyal dues-paying member of the Society. But after more than two years of reporting and writing, I can’t argue with Mr. Medred’s general critique — especially when the evidence is so overwhelming:
In the orb....