National Geographic, the iconic yellow framed magazine that has chronicled the natural world for more than 100 years, laid off its last remaining staff writers this week, multiple departing staffers said.
The latest round of layoffs at the magazine cut 17 editorial positions, including all of the publication’s staff writers, its entire podcast staff, and a group of editors, including one who’d been on staff for nearly 40 years, a former staff writer affected by the layoffs told CNN.
The layoffs, which were announced to the staff in April, were part of a wave of cuts from parent company Disney, which resulted in thousands of positions being axed across the media giant. Most National Geographic staffers at the time were told their positions would be eliminated in two months, resulting in many of the departures this week, the former staffer said.
It was unclear how many staffers were cut during the latest round of layoffs at the magazine, but the move comes as parent company Walt Disney Co. has slashed thousands of staffers across its divisions this year.
National Geographic, which had more than 1.7 million subscribers at the end of 2022, will continue to publish monthly issues, a magazine spokesperson told CNN in a statement on Wednesday.
“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 spokesperson said. “Any insinuation that the recent changes will negatively impact the magazine, or the quality of our storytelling, is simply incorrect.”
The full-time staff will be replaced by a roster of freelance writers, save for certain digital content that will be written by in-house editors, the former staffer said. National Geographic currently employs only two designated text editors, a group of so-called multi-platform editors who handle both print and digital, and a group of digital-only editors, the former staffer said.
The magazine also employs two wildlife watch reporters whose positions are funded and managed separately, the former staffer said.
News of the layoffs was reported on Twitter Tuesday when departing magazine staff writers began to circulate the news.
“Today is my last day at National Geographic,” Michael Greshko, a former science writer at the magazine, tweeted. “The magazine is parting ways with its staff writers, including me.”
Yet, when CNN contacted the magazine on Tuesday, a spokesperson said there was “nothing to report.”
“It’s possible that what you’re seeing is from staffers who were previously impacted and have now reached their final week at the company,” the spokesperson said.
But on Wednesday, more staff writers for the magazine took to Twitter to share the news of their departure.
“My new National Geographic just arrived, which includes my latest feature — my 16th, and my last as a senior writer,” tweeted Craig Welch. “NatGeo is laying off all of its staff writers.”
“It’s been an epic run, @NatGeo,” tweeted former writer Nina Strochlic. “My colleagues and I were unbelievably lucky to be the last-ever class of staff writers.”