October marks 125 years of National Geographic Magazine, a milestone the brand is marking with a photography blog and photo-based social engagement platform as it seeks new ways to document the world and interact with readers.
The photo blog, Proof, launched September 16.
Edited by NationalGeographic.com director of photography Keith Jenkins, the blog will take a “provocative and eclectic look” at National Geographic photography and the field overall, the brand says.
According to Proof, the blog was launched “to engage ongoing conversations about photography, art, and journalism” and promises “new avenues for our audience to get a behind-the-scenes look at the National Geographic storytelling process.”
In a welcome post, Jenkins writes that through Proof, National Geographic “[wants] to share our experiences and adventures with you – and hope you will share your stories with us.”
The post says content will include “everything from how to edit down 60,000 photographs to 12, to which single item a photographer on a four-month assignment can’t live without.”
A National Geographic rep was not available for comment.
On October 1, National Geographic says it will invite photo enthusiasts to submit images and participate in an inaugural digital assignment for the magazine as part of its newly designed photosharing-based community engagement platform, Your Shot.
The site, which features searchable photos, also includes an Assignments and Stories section, which includes open assignments for fan contribution. The brand says submissions will be discussed by community members and National Geographic before they assemble the top images into a story.
As of September 19, the current assignment, The Night, has 7,000 submissions.
The site also includes the ability to recommend an assignment and features trending topics, like #greatnature, #nature, #animal and #night, as well as photo tips.
What’s more, National Geographic says its anniversary print issue is the “largest measured revenue issue in the magazine’s history” with a mix of global and domestic ad campaigns.
“Wildlife as Canon Sees It,” which focuses on building awareness for endangered species and, per National Geographic, is the longest-running continuous campaign in magazine history, is featured on a poster within the cover story.
The October issue also includes a four-page Nokia campaign featuring an image made with a smartphone. The photo was taken by a National Geographic photographer represented by the Society’s newly configured creative agency, National Geographic Creative.
The National Geographic brand has a long history with photography and says it is expanding the scope of its visual storytelling, as well as experimenting with digital experiences “to find new ways of documenting the world and of allowing readers to interact with content.”
The brand has a sizeable social audience with 16.6 million Facebook likes and 4.4 million Twitter followers. The blog asks fans to join the conversation on Twitter with #NatGeoProof.
Meanwhile, National Geographic is also promoting the Great Nature Project, which says it is a “worldwide celebration of the planet and its wonders” and calls on fans to take pictures of plants and animals in their worlds and upload them to photo-sharing sites like Flickr, Instagram, Twitter or Your Shot, along with the hashtag #GreatNature and #animal with any animal photo.
“Together we’ll create a global snapshot of the Earth’s incredible biodiversity – and try for a Guinness World Records title for the largest-ever online album of animal photos,” National Geographic says.
As part of the promotion, National Geographic is conducting a live video conversation on September 24, asking fans to submit questions with #LetsExplore.
National Geographic magazine was first published in October 1888 as the official journal of the National Geographic Society, a nonprofit dedicated to funding science and exploration.
Since then, the magazine has grown to 60 million monthly readers and has expanded to include the National Geographic Channel, which reaches 440 million households, as well as NationalGeographic.com, which has 27 million unique visitors each month.