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Magazine skips cover photo on Africa issue

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WASHINGTON, Aug 18, 2005 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Unable to pick one picture that tells the story of Africa, National Geographic is skipping a cover photo for the first time since 1959.

Instead, the September cover is simply a white background with the word "Africa" in brown ink, followed by a statement: "Whatever you thought, think again."

Chris Johns, the magazine's new editor in chief, spent 17 of his 30 years as a photographer covering Africa.

"Africa is not just a place; it's a million places. It's a million voices," Johns told The Washington Post. "We felt no one photograph could capture the mystery, the diversity and the surprise of Africa as it moves forward. Our issue is a very forward look at Africa."

He said his goal was to highlight the complexity of the continent, its stories of renewal and ingenuity as told by Africans, stories that would serve as a balance to the daunting headlines of disease, poverty, war and extinction.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International.

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