Riding the Wave of Changes at National Geographic

Burgess.Alicia at her deskBy Dean’s Intern Alicia Burgess at National Geographic

Last time I wrote on the Dean’s Intern blog, I was in the Ad Sales department at National Geographic. A lot has changed since then! During last semester, National Geographic entered a joint venture with Fox Entertainment group, now called Fox Partners. A lot of people were unfortunately laid off. I learned a lot from witnessing such a dynamic change not just in the company, but in the television industry. With everything that was happening at HR, they told me that the internship program there was going to be significantly limited in the spring.
Surprisingly, I was able to stay on in an internship role at National Geographic Channel this semester by talking to the right people and being diligent with follow ups. Now, I’m in the Ad Sales Creative Department, and I am really enjoying it.
Basically our role is to work with clients who buy advertisements on, and produce promos that align the NatGeo brand, or a particular NatGeo show, with the client’s message. For instance, Subaru’s fuel efficiency initiative is very applicable to National Geographic ideals about conservation. Studies have shown these types of ads are better received by viewers, since the ad is integrated within NatGeo’s media and has a relationship with what consumers are already watching.
In addition, I’m taking a class this semester called Producing Environmental and Wildlife films with Chris Palmer (and I would highly recommend it). We talk a lot about National Geographic in class, and what I’m learning in class and on the job are really highlighting each other and allowing me to think critically about both topics.
My current project is producing my own ad that will go on TV. I’m working on the Explorer episode entitled “Fighting Isis”. It not only promotes the show, but also the corresponding NatGeo magazine issue that is coming out in the same month. The joke around the office is that my role as an intern is to singlehandedly fight Isis, but what I’m actually doing is writing the script, working with the voiceover artist, and supervising the overall edit. It’s a lot more strategic and less technical than things I’ve done in the past, which is a fun challenge. I’m excited to see the finished project and share it when it’s completed!