At the inaugural Global Positive Forum in Paris on Friday, Sept. 1, Susan Goldberg, National Geographic magazine Editor-in-Chief and National Geographic Partners Editorial Director, discussed the power of storytelling to change the world. National Geographic is an official partner of the new conference, which was created under the patronage of the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron. The goal of the Global Positive Forum is to “give voice to agents of change around the world, people who are thinking and acting in new ways, and leading positive initiatives,” all in hopes of making the world of tomorrow better than the world today.
Susan began her remarks by highlighting National Geographic’s long-held belief in the power of storytelling to change the world. Today, however, the beloved brand isn’t limited to the pages of a magazine – it can inspire its 760 million readers, viewers and fans across a range of platforms.
“The yellow border that used to define our magazine has become a portal for curious people – not only to better understand the world, but to better understand their role in it, and how to make the world a better place,” Susan said.
“Our strategy is to tell the stories of humankind up close,” she added. “Stories that makes a difference, like those about the health of our planet. Stories that can take people to little-known places, that can get them to care about the natural world, and about people who need our help.”
The company also walks its talk by giving 27 percent of its profits to the nonprofit National Geographic Society to invest in science, exploration and education.
Susan highlighted the National Geographic Photo Ark, a multiyear project led by American photographer Joel Sartore to document every species living in wildlife sanctuaries. The goal is to inspire action through education and to help save wildlife by supporting on-the-ground conservation efforts.
She quoted Joel, who said, “I want to get people to care, to fall in love and to take action.”
“That’s a good 15-word mission statement for everything we try to do,” Susan said.
She went on to discuss the “tough issues” National Geographic tackles in its content, including climate change and gender conversations.
“At National Geographic, our products are awe and wonder,” Susan said. “We are lucky to have nature as our muse. As storytellers, our ambition is to create content that is arresting, pioneering and genuine. The world, illuminated.”