For first time in four decades, no photo on National Geographic cover

Thursday, August 18th 2005, 8:30 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ National Geographic magazine, known for its breathtaking photography, decided this time a picture wasn't worth a thousand words _ or even six.

The single-topic September issue, on the complex problems and promise of Africa, is the magazine's first cover without a photograph since 1959 _ and only the second since it began using cover photos in 1943.

The white cover is dominated by a bold, brown word _ ``Africa'' _ and below that, ``Whatever you thought, think again.''

The unusual choice was made by the magazine's new editor in chief, Chris Johns, who was a career photographer for 30 years, spending much of that time in Africa. It's the first complete issue published under his direction.

Johns said he wanted to ``highlight astonishing stories of renewal, ingenuity and potential heard through unfiltered African voices. These stories counterbalance the bleak headlines of civil war, disease, poverty and extinction.''