Four Visionary Storytellers Selected as First Class of National Geographic Media Innovation Fellows

For 130 years, National Geographic has been working to help explain the world and all that’s in it, supporting storytellers who help shine a light on the shared human experience and demonstrate the power of science and exploration to change the world.

In order to continue this mission, the Society has launched new fellowship opportunities for four visionary storytellers. Nominated by a panel of experts, the 2018 National Geographic Media Innovation Fellows were selected by a committee led by Kaitlin Yarnall, senior vice president of media innovation at the National Geographic Society.

Each of the National Geographic Media Innovation Fellows will receive up to $200,000 in support from National Geographic to focus on four unique projects over one year using different storytelling platforms. The four National Geographic Media Innovation Fellows are:

Evgenia Arbugaeva

Evgenia Arbugaeva was born in 1985 in the town of Tiksi, located in the north of Russia. In her personal work, she often looks into her homeland — the Arctic — discovering and capturing the remote worlds and people who inhabit them.

Evgenia’s Media Innovation Fellowship project will document how people who inhabit the coastal stretch of land along the Northern Sea Route in Russia live through the current political, economic and climate changes.

Xaquín G.V.

Xaquín G.V. is an award-winning Galician visual journalist, instructor and consultant. He is an expert in data visualization, visual explanations and interactive storytelling.

His project will develop an open-source tool with a double purpose: first, to assist communicators in their data research by acting as an always-available editor against whom they can bounce ideas, and second, to simplify the production of low-complexity, data-driven visual stories.

Emma Marris

Emma Marris is an environmental writer for National Geographic, Wired, the New York Times, Outside and many other outlets. She is also an Institute Fellow at the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability.

During her Media Innovation Fellowship, Emma will create a new book, ”Wild Souls: What We Owe Animals in an Age of Humans.” The book, along with associated magazine features and podcast episodes, will answer one of the most pressing ethical issues of our time: What is the right relationship between people and wild animals?

Anand Varma

Anand Varma is a freelance photographer and videographer who grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. His work tells the story behind the science on everything from primate behavior and hummingbird biomechanics to amphibian disease and forest ecology.

Anand’s Media Innovation Fellowship project will use novel visualization techniques to bring people into the hidden world of jellyfish, creatures that have existed in our oceans for half a billion years and have survived dramatic shifts in their environment. Anand’s hope is that an intimate look at these humble animals will inspire people to relate to them in a new way and ultimately spark a sense of wonder about the diversity, complexity and beauty of the natural world.

For more information about National Geographic’s commitment to storytelling and other opportunities to get involved, visit Support National Geographic’s efforts to enable more cutting-edge scientists, conservationists and educators like these to get out into the field here.


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