National Geographic Style Science Writing

I’ve never read much National Geographic, and I’ve definitely never read into the style that’s used in their articles. But after reading through a Smithsonian science article and picking out little style points, it’s easier to compare National Geographic’s style. The first point that I noticed in this article, which happened to be on dolphin intelligence, is that there aren’t many things like scholarly articles cited–most of the sources cited for information are organizations or people that the author actually spoke with. This feature is identical to the Smithsonian science article. This article uses quotes to support information, but quotes are less abundant than in the Smithsonian article that I read. The pictures presented in this National Geographic article are very intertwined with the text. One memorable line in the text is, “A dolphin alone is not really a dolphin,” which corresponds well with the first picture in the article of a group of dolphins swimming together. Though National Geographic has a different style of science writing than Smithsonian, there are definite parallels that seem to define science writing in major publications.


One thought on “National Geographic Style Science Writing

  1. Allison Miehl April 22, 2015 / 4:02 am

    It sounds like National Geographic and Smithsonian use more personal sources (I’m thinking experts in the field?) than things like academic papers. I think it’s a stylistic choice on the part of the editors, so that even though the magazines cover scientific topics, they seem more like discussions between the experts and the readers than just someone reading a report. It definitely makes it more accessible to the general population.


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