Photograph by Mark Thiessen, NGM staff
Photograph by Mark Thiessen, NGM staff

Reflecting on a year of storytelling with a purpose

Plastic pollution, climate change, wildlife trafficking: On urgent issues like these, ‘people turn to National Geographic,’ says Chairman Gary Knell.

This story appears in the December 2019 issue of National Geographic magazine.

National Geographic helps people understand our world. Guided by that purpose, we tell stories across all content platforms where people seek them.

We’re building on the work of the 131-year-old National Geographic Society, which gives innovative grants to amazingly talented individuals worldwide. We’re embracing opportunities to increase our impact like never before, thanks to our new partnership with The Walt Disney Company. Through our involvement in platforms like the new Disney+ streaming service, and taking advantage of Disney’s unrivaled success in touching millions through parks, experiences, books, and other products, we will expand our reach across the globe. We’re incredibly excited about all the possibilities that lie ahead for this new partnership.

This year we took our storytelling to new heights with award-winning journalism. We highlighted important concerns—the scourge of plastics in our ocean, the dangers of wildlife tourism, the global impact of climate change—and published a remarkable photography collection to celebrate how women are changing the world. The magazine’s work was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize (for the second time in three years), and our print and digital journalism won the National Magazine Awards’ most prestigious honor, General Excellence.

Television viewers thrilled to the Academy Award-winning film Free Solo, relived an Ebola virus crisis via The Hot Zone, and “tasted” the world with chef Gordon Ramsay through his exclusive original series Uncharted. We built on our success in documentary filmmaking with important releases: Sea of Shadows, a riveting account of the desperate effort to save Earth’s most endangered marine mammal from extinction; and The Cave, the  heroic story of one female doctor working to save lives in war-torn Syria.

You responded, helping us break box office records, hit record-high ratings, and become the first brand to exceed 100 million followers on Instagram (we’re now past 120 million). This tells us that there’s a great demand for media with a purpose and that people look to National Geographic to meet that demand.

Thank you for subscribing, reading, watching, following—and for sharing our appreciation of the world and all that’s in it. Your support of and commitment to National Geographic inspire us to keep inspiring you.