Magazine article Geographical

An Academic Question

Magazine article Geographical

An Academic Question

Article excerpt

Is Geographical 'geographical' enough? Not according to Professor Ron Johnston of the University of Bristol. In a recent paper in GeoJournal, Johnston 'distilled' the content of Geographical, National Geographic and New Zealand Geographic in order to identify their 'major themes'. His main conclusion is that they 'operate at a considerable distance from the discipline, suggesting either that their editors lack respect for academic geographers' work or that they consider it unsuitable (even in rewritten form) for the readers of popular magazines'.

Now, while I disagree with some of his analysis and take great umbrage at his suggestion that I lack respect for academic geographers' work or consider it unsuitable for our readers, I agree that there is too little academic geography in Geographical. The difficulty I face in rectifying this situation is the apparent reticence of academic geographers to engage with the popular press. Indeed, Johnstone tempers his rather broad swipe with a call for geographers to make more of an effort to communicate their work, pointing to the benefits to the public profile of geography this would bring. …

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