Editor’s Note
July 2014
Meet Our New Editor in Chief
Photo: Rebecca Hale, NGM Staff

As Chris Johns takes on a new role as the National Geographic Society’s chief content officer, Susan Goldberg, the magazine’s former executive editor for news and features, becomes the 126-year-old publication’s tenth editor in chief—and the first woman to hold that position. We asked them both a few questions:

Chris, what makes you proudest about your nine years as editor in chief? And Susan, what do you most look forward to as you take on the job?

Chris Johns: I’m proud that we’ve been able to increase public awareness of important issues. We’ve been influential in helping the world deal with the illegal wildlife and ivory trades, climate change, child brides and other human rights issues. We’ve brought these global issues right into people’s living rooms.

Susan Goldberg: I’ve been chasing the news for 35 years, and now I have the opportunity to get in front of it. The topics that are central to National Geographic’s coverage—the environment, climate change, cultures, innovation, and science—also are central to the national conversation about the future. We’re expert storytellers in all these areas, and it’s hard to imagine a more important, relevant, or newsier place to be for a magazine and digital news source.

What do you both see for the future of National Geographic?

CJ: I’m looking forward to new and innovative ways to tell stories. The methods of delivering information are getting better all the time. I’ve always wanted our stories to resonate long after publication, and now, because of the great tools we have, there are unparalleled opportunities to get the great issues of our day out and keep those conversations going.

SG: We have the ability to reach a larger and more diverse group of readers than we’ve ever had. And we will do that in the print magazine, but we must become equally well known for our work across other platforms—digital, mobile, video—with timely and lively news and information. Now we can cover what people are talking about in the moment with uniquely powerful visual and textual storytelling.

Chris, do you have any advice for Susan in her new position?

CJ: Embrace change. There’s a lot happening right now at National Geographic, and throughout the world of media. I don’t think there’s a better time to be an editor of a magazine.

SG: I agree!

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