Showdown #1: National Geographic vs The Economist

In the first of a series of completely random one on one battles we have a battle of preferred magazines…

In this corner is National Geographic Monthly, glossy, filled with beuatiful and interesting pictures. Don’t just be fooled by the pretty pictures though. This magazine has some teeth to it, featuring timely article on in-depth issues, interesting articles on geogrphic nature andhistory as well. And a highly international focus, albeit still from a American-centric vantage point.

And in this corner, The Economist A weekly magazine filled to the brim with articles from around the globe, although focusing mostly on Europe and the USA (with plenty of Asia thrown in). A magazine that does not dumb itself down and is very timely and gives an intelligent voice to whatever the current discussion is or even what it will be, often ahead of the curve on relavant issues.

My personal judgement, while i love The Economist, there is nothing better than seeing that new issue of National Geographic. I am a very visual person and much of the photography in there is stunning. And i don’t feel short-changed by the articles either. The Economist wonderful, but often too dense for my taste. If I don’t get to it almost right away then it may never get read.

The Economist. Nobody matches them for their level and breadth of global reportage.

National Geographic wins on aesthetics, but for content I prefer what The Economist has to offer. I just started a subscription to it, and there is a TON of stuff in it. Since it’s a weekly, though, it really is a time commitment to actually try and read most everything in it.

I hate to say it, but I don’t find the subject matter (for the most part, there are exceptions) of NG articles as interesting. Their pictures are fabulous of course, but if I’m getting a magazine, I want to read stuff that interests me.

Well, The Economist would no doubt want to let the markets decide, and I’m fairly certain that NG outsells them, so NG wins.

I acutally prefere The Economist, it’s news that’s much less dumbed down then the stuff one gets from most sources, without being too high level for me. They have the worst, most inaccurate science/tech writing of any magazine I read, though, so I just read the news, opinions and economics piecies.

I agree with the comment regarding the time commitment required for The Economist, although I really like it on those few occasions I actually get to read it (read: on airplanes). I read NG cover-to-cover every month and very much look forward to it. So I guess NG wins.

[minor hijack]Will a future showdown be between The New Republic and The Weekly Standard? :smiley: [/minor hijack]

I subscribe to The Economist. I might read National Geographic at the dentist’s office. Maybe.

The Economist does have a great breadth of news reporting and does an excellent job but what tips the balance to National Geographic in my mind is the bias that the Economist shows in economic and political matters. For example in the December 17th-23rd issue regarding health care costs and lawsuits on page 32:

I mean comeon, when I read that I know that this is not going to be an unbiased look at the issue. It is simply going to be Democrats/Liberals are wrong and we/conservatives are right. Admittedly I have not been an avid reader of the Economist (mostly becuase its so damn expensive) but would you expect to ever see an article about the successes of nationalized health care?

In another article that I can’t remember when it was published at the moment they were talking about outsourcing and said something to the effect of “Democrat leader X repeatidly says he is concerned about poor people but I guess he isn’t concerned about the ones in China.” Again, that indicates that I am not recieving an impartial analysis of the issue at hand.

In the article about Tookie Williams they show their (admitted) bias against the death penalty on page 28:

Please, the unbiased word to use in this situation is execute. Kill brings a much different, inaccurate in this case, connotation than execute.

If the Economist would just report economic issues like they do non-economic issues this would be a landslide victory for The Economist. As it stands I don’t bother to read the articles about economic issues, not becuase of the direction of the bias but becuase it is so evident.

Moving thread from IMHO to Cafe Society.

The Economist wins hands down.

They do have their particular bias and some folks don’t like that. But they are upfront and honest about it. You always know where they are coming from and can choose to disagree.

In terms of its coverage of the world’s events, I can’t imagine that there is anything better in the English language.

National Geographic has nice maps. The historical bits can be interesting. So if that’s your bag, then by all means, enjoy. If I want current events, the Economist is the way to go.

As far as the time commitment involved, I guess I have never had a problem. Since their site gives you free access if you subscribe to the print edition, I can go in at the office and pull down a few stories to read. While some folks take a few minutes to loaf, check stock prices, or hockey scores, I knock down one or two short pieces.

I do not read National Geographic very often (maybe once or twice a year while waiting at the denitist or doctor).

I still feel pretty comfortable in voting for The Economist for all the reasons previous posters have already stated. It is an extremely good magazine and the only problem is that since most of it is so good it’ll take a lot of reading time every week.

Yes. Read the sections on the NHS - there’s been about one a week lately. They don’t have a problem talking about its successes, as well as its failures and they haven’t (to my knowledge) ever advocated a US-style system of completely private healthcare providers to be implemented in the UK. They just had a large spotlight on healthcare a while back, and they spoke glowingly of most European nationalized healthcare systems, but completely panned the US style across the board - noting its gross inefficiency and complete failure to insure everyone.

To give a few examples with a quick search on the Economist archives, we have The Economist on the NHS:

The Economist on the US system of healthcare: