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National Geographic Reorganizes, with New Roles in Publishing and Television Operations, Including Chief Content Officer

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National Geographic Reorganizes, with New Roles in Publishing and Television Operations, Including Chief Content Officer

Broader Roles for Three Veterans, with Newcomer Susan Goldberg Named
Editor in Chief of National Geographic Magazine

            WASHINGTON (April 30, 2014)—The National Geographic Society announced today the reorganization of the nonprofit’s media operations for a more unified editorial vision across distribution channels. The change results in expanded roles for three key executives, Declan Moore, Chris Johns and Brooke Runnette, and the promotion of Executive Editor of News and Features Susan Goldberg, to editor in chief of National Geographic magazine and News. Goldberg replaces Chris Johns, who takes on the newly defined role of chief content officer.

The media reorganization comes as part of a general realignment at the National Geographic Society, announced today by CEO and President Gary Knell. Led by Knell, the 126-year-old Society is focusing on more clearly defining and supporting its primary components: exploration and science; media; and education.

“Our efforts need to be organized around our purpose, not our platforms,” said Knell. “We are a nonprofit with the mission to inspire people to care about the planet. We do this through storytelling, research and exploration, and education. Aligning our media teams so that they share a common vision and can bring their expertise to bear across the organization will enable us to seamlessly tell stories to, and share experiences with, our global audiences wherever they want to find us.”

As editor in chief of National Geographic magazine, Goldberg will report to Johns, who served in the position for more than nine years and led the magazine during its transition to digital publishing. She becomes the 10th editor in the magazine’s history. Hired in January 2014, Goldberg has been instrumental in redefining the Society’s approach to daily news coverage and brings a strong track record of editorial leadership to her new role. Prior to joining National Geographic, she was in charge of federal, state and local government coverage for Bloomberg News and was the top editor at Cleveland’s The Plain Dealer and the San Jose Mercury News. While at the San Jose Mercury News, Goldberg was a key leader of the local coverage after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake that won a staff Pulitzer Prize for general news reporting.


“Susan has incredible drive and vision, which makes her a wonderful choice to lead the magazine and daily news through their next iterations,” said Johns. “I am confident that her fresh perspective will help us guide a legacy brand into its future.”

            In his new position as chief content officer, Johns will oversee the print and digital expression of National Geographic’s editorial content across platforms. He will be responsible for National Geographic magazine, News, Books, Traveler magazine, Maps and all digital content with the exception of National Geographic Kids. Johns will continue to report to Declan Moore, who has been named chief media officer for the Society. 

Brooke Runnette, president of National Geographic Television, takes on additional production responsibilities, overseeing all video, television and film production for the Society — from short form to giant screen — working closely with Moore and Johns. An Emmy- and Peabody-Award winning producer, Runnette was previously an executive producer and director of development for special projects at Discovery Communications. Before joining Discovery, Runnette was a producer at ABC News’ “Nightline,” and also produced for “Frontline,” for CBS’ “60 Minutes II” and for Peter Jennings at ABC News, among others.

“I am delighted to recognize the talents of these extremely accomplished leaders,” said Moore. “They will be instrumental in helping to shift our point of view from creating content for specific distribution channels to empowering editorial teams to think about stories holistically from mobile and Web to television, film and print. Reorganizing our operations gives us greater creativity and flexibility and allows us to develop more cohesive, uniquely National Geographic experiences for our global audiences.”


About the National Geographic Society

Founded in 1888, the National Geographic Society is one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. With a mission to inspire people to care about the planet, the member-supported Society offers a community for members to get closer to explorers, connect with other members and help make a difference. The Society reaches more than 500 million people worldwide each month through its media platforms, products and events. National Geographic has funded more than 11,000 scientific research, conservation and exploration projects and supports an education program promoting geographic literacy. For more information, visit



Wednesday, April 30, 2014