National Geographic

Short Awards: Hidden Figures, 21st Century Fox Social Impact

21st Century Fox’s social media campaigns supporting young women in STEM and girls’ access to education were named as finalists for the 9th annual Shorty Awards, which are sponsored by AdWeek and celebrate the best in digital and content marketing on social media.

21CF and PepsiCo’s “Search for Hidden Figures” was named a finalist in the categories of “Best Content and Promotion” and “Best Multicultural Community Engagement”. Inspired by the film Hidden Figures, 21CF and PepsiCo partnered with Pharrell Williams’ organization, i am OTHER, and the New York Academy of Sciences to find the next generation of women who will lead the way in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). The campaign invited women and girls to share their stories of work and potential in STEM fields for the opportunity to win scholarships and other awards totaling over $200,000. The integrated, multi-platform campaign highlighted the importance of diversity in the workplace and the critical need to empower women who want to pursue careers in STEM.

21CF and National Geographic’s Stand with Malala campaign was also named a Shorty Award finalist in the “Best Influencer and Celebrity Facebook Campaign” category for its visual depiction of the world’s loss that occurs when girls are excluded from the classroom. As part of 21CF’s yearlong efforts to support girls’ education, the campaign was created in support of the broadcast premiere of the documentary film He Named Me Malala, which shares the story of Pakistani activist and Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai and her global fight to ensure girls’ access to education. The campaign asked viewers to tweet using the hashtag #withMalala or change their Facebook profile to a special campaign video. The video transformed profile pictures into yearbook photos and then dissolved female users' profile pictures from the page, representing the 60 million girls who are out of school worldwide. For every post or share, 21CF gave $1 to the Malala Fund, in total donating $50,000.

Recognizing that social media has the influence to create global movements and new stars, the Shorty Awards spot industry-wide trends and honor both individual influencers and brands for their work and messaging on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine and more. By constantly evolving along with the medium it celebrates, the Shorty Awards engage an online audience of millions and culminate in a blockbuster ceremony in New York City—winners are chosen through a combination of votes from the public and scores given by the Real Time Academy.

Learn more about the 2017 Shorty Awards and the full list of finalists here. Winners will be announced in New York City on April 23.


Katie Couric, Courteney Monroe at the Cynopsis Media Social Good Awards, New York City

On Thursday, March 2, Cynopsis Media honored National Geographic with its inaugural Impact Award in the Network category at their third annual Social Good Awards in New York City. The Social Good Awards recognize brands, campaigns, and individuals for outstanding work in areas ranging from environmental initiatives to voter registration to combatting addiction.

Journalist Katie Couric presented the Impact Award to Courteney Monroe, CEO of National Geographic Global Networks, for the company’s commitment to programming that engages viewers in stories about the human condition and exploration of new frontiers, including documentaries Before the Flood and Gender Revolution, which is hosted by Couric and explores issues of gender identity. “I could not have found a better partner on this journey with me…. Under Courteney’s leadership, this truly iconic brand is reaching new heights. It’s broadened the definition of exploration to not only include geography but ideas and even our inner dimensions—the very things that make us human,” said Couric.

21st Century Fox businesses earned a total of ten nominations at the Cynopsis Social Good Awards. In addition to the Impact Award, 21CF and National Geographic’s social media campaign in support of the documentary He Named Me Malala was awarded Social Good Awards in both categories of “Facebook Campaign or Initiative” and “Partnership with a Celebrity/Athlete/Character.” The film tells the inspiring story of Pakistani education activist and Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai’s fight for the educational rights of women and girls. The Stand with Malala social media campaign drew attention to the more than 60 million girls that are out of school around the world, and raised $50,000 for the Malala Fund to support education programs for Syrian refugee children.

National Geographic also won an award for best “Environmental Campaign or Initiative” for Before the Flood, a documentary from Academy Award-winners Leonardo DiCaprio and Fisher Stevens investigating the global effects of climate change. In addition to airing the film in 171 countries around the world, National Geographic made it available for free across streaming and on-demand platforms to ensure as many people could see it as possible. More than 60 million people viewed Before the Flood, making it one of the most watched documentary films in history. National Geographic also ran a number of campaigns around the film to amplify its message, including a series of screenings at colleges and universities in partnership with Rock the Vote to encourage students to register to vote ahead of the presidential election.  “It’s not enough just to create this type of important and thought provoking content. As leaders in media we need to be equally committed to making sure it reaches the widest audience possible in order to effect change…. In a world in which media is scrutinized like never before, we have a responsibility to be bold, to take risks, to be radical in our thinking and relentless in our pursuit of stories that matter,” added Nat Geo’s Monroe.

Other 21st Century Fox nominations at the Social Good Awards represented the variety of social issues that 21CF businesses work on, ranging from FOX Sports Supports’ efforts to help military veterans transition to civilian life to National Geographic’s on-air campaigns to preserve America’s National Parks. The “Find Your Park, Love Your Park” campaign from National Geographic and Subaru of America is geared toward teaching fourth graders across the United States about the importance of U.S. national parks by driving viewers to a host of educational resources available at National Geographic’s website. In addition, “Partners in Preservation: National Parks”, created with American Express, awarded $2 million in grants in 2016 to historic sites in need of preservation within national parks, as decided by popular vote on the campaign website.

“At National Geographic, we have a 130-year history of supporting and funding individuals committed to making a difference. Through the National Geographic Society, we invest in bold people with really transformative ideas in the fields of exploration, scientific research, conservation and education,” concluded Monroe at the awards.

Get more information and check out a full list of the 2017 Cynopsis Media Social Good Award winners and nominees.


Michael H. Cottman, "Shackles From The Deep"

In continued celebration of Black History Month, National Geographic recently released books by authors, Ann Bausum and Michael H. Cottman, who have each devoted their careers to discovery, research, exploration and impact. These authors tell the unvarnished truth about African American history during the slave trade (Cottman’s Shackles From The Deep) and the Civil Rights Movement (Bausum’s The March Against Fear). While Black History Month is coming to a close, these books and the authors' thoughts, below, remind us that black history is America’s history and celebrated every day.

Michael H. Cottman: Shackles From The Deep

Michael H. Cottman, Pulitzer prize-winning journalist and author, is a former political reporter for the Washington Post. Cottman also serves as a special consultant to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration for a national multimedia project, "Voyage to Discovery," an education initiative that focuses on the African-American contribution to the maritime industry spanning 300 years and efforts to teach students of color about careers in marine biology and oceanography. ‘Shackles From The Deep’ is more than just the story of one ship, the ‘Henrietta Marie’—it's the untold story of millions of people taken as captives to the New World. Told from Cottman’s perspective, this book introduces young readers to the wonders of diving, detective work, and discovery, while shedding light on the history of slavery.

What inspired you to explore the Henrietta Marie and write Shackles from the Deep?

When I was working on the first book, The Wreck of Henrietta Marie, I started talking to my daughter about it and she said that she thought it would be a good idea to write something that would resonate with young people. I thought, “maybe she’s onto something”, so I began to talk about how to share this story with young people in a way that would resonate with them to discuss the pain and injustice of the slave trade and in a conversational way that they can relate to and understand. I thought the best way to do it would be through writing Shackles From The Deep, because it’s part detective story, part underwater mystery, part personal journey and part history. 

Historians come in all colors, shapes and sizes. Why do you think it’s important for African Americans to study and to tell the story about African American history?

I think it’s important so that we get the story right. In a lot of cases, I’ve talked to scholars and historians who say that we need to be in the position to tell our own stories so that we can pass these truths to the generations of young people who come after us. It’s important for them to know their heritage, to know their lineage, to know about the horrible global business of slavery. But, it’s also important for young people to know that because of slavery, there was genius that was brought to these shores by African people. What I mean by that is the mathematics, poetry, culture and music—the elements that all Americans and all races appreciate to this day. I think it’s important for young African American kids to understand their history, but also understand that there is an uplifting element that has evolved and come out of the pain of slavery. 

How does the discovery of slave ships, like the Henrietta Marie, help us to better understand not just African American history, but American history?

African American history is American history. African American history is global history, a collective history. To illustrate that, I would point people to a partnership between the National Association of Black Scuba Divers and the maritime archaeologists who we partnered with to explore and examine the Henrietta Marie slave ship. During this discovery, we witnessed an unprecedented effort—white and black divers coming together to explore a slave ship. Corey Malcolm, the Director of Archaeology at the Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Society, said to me, “This is part of our collective history. There is no better illustration of this collective history than white divers and black divers coming together to explore this slave ship.”

If we want to take a step towards racial healing or cultural understanding, we must the acknowledge pain and injustice of the past, and that’s what we did together during this project. We acknowledged the pain and injustice of the past by examining the Henrietta Marie.

If you could describe African American history in three words, what would they be?

Education, illumination and necessity.

Michael H. Cottman, Ann Bausum, National Geographic

Ann Bausum: The March Against Fear

Award-winning author, Ann Bausum writes about U.S. history for young people, and she has published eight titles with National Geographic Children's Books. Her latest, ‘The March Against Fear’, explores James Meredith's 1966 march in Mississippi, which started as one man's peaceful protest for voter registration and became one of the South's most important demonstrations of the civil rights movement.

What inspired you to write The March Against Fear?

I’ve spent two decades exploring under told stories from our nation’s past, particularly ones about the quest for social justice. This story called out to be told for those reasons and because it shares essential history about the evolving nature of the civil rights movement during the 1960s.

You note that Meredith’s efforts were “nearly forgotten.” How did you learn about James Meredith? Based on your research, do you think there are stories, like Meredith’s, that have been left untold?

I’ve known for decades about James Meredith, especially his integration of the University of Mississippi, but also the March Against Fear. The Pulitzer Prize winning photograph of him after he’d been shot along the roadside is burned on my brain; we use that image to open the book. As for untold stories, they are legion. The Hidden Figures books and film prove that—these stories tend to emerge vicariously, so it’s the job of authors and publishers to spot them and latch on.

Why is it so important for our country, and especially our young students, to continue to learn the untold stories of Civil Rights leaders such as James Meredith?

Some of our untold stories are left untold intentionally. They may fall outside of a national narrative of uplift, make us feel uncomfortable, or force us to face past mistakes. I would argue that the best way to avoid such mistakes is to learn about them. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to do that any number of times with National Geographic.

If you could describe African American history in three words, what would they be?

Essential American stories.


 The March Against Fear and Shackles From The Deep are both available for purchase through the National Geographic store; author interviews conducted by Christian Garland for National Geographic.


On February 20, 2017, Nat Geo WILD launched its seventh annual ‘Big Cat Week’, a week of premiere programming and activities dedicated to telling the stories of nature’s fiercest felines—lions, tigers, cheetahs, panthers and more—around the world. ‘Big Cat Week’ is an extension of the Big Cats Initiative (BCI), a long-term commitment by National Geographic Society to stop poaching, save habitat and sound the call that big steps are needed to save big cats around the world. The initiative was co-founded by big cat experts Dereck and Beverly Joubert, and supports protection efforts through assessment, on-the-ground conservation, education, and global public-awareness campaigns—since 2009, BCI has supported over 95 innovative grants to protect seven iconic big cat species across 27 countries.

The Big Cats Initiative Sister School Program is an interactive learning opportunity that connects classrooms in the U.S. and abroad with students living near big cat populations across the African continent. One such classroom is P.S. 205, the Fiorello Laguardia School located in the Bronx, which is paired with Gudigwa Primary School in Botswana. Through photos, letters, and virtual assemblies over the last three years, the two schools have created substantial cross-cultural exchange and discussion about the decline of big cats in the wild and what that means for the ecosystem around them.

Last Thursday, P.S. 205 students helped Nat Geo WILD kick off ‘Big Cat Week’ by spending some time with the Jouberts themselves, who live in Botswana and work closely with Gudigwa Primary School. After a special screening of their new documentary, Soul of the Cat, the Jouberts spoke to nearly 400 4th and 5th graders about the history, purpose, and progress of BCI, their role as explorers and filmmakers, and the world of students at Gudigwa, which P.S. 205 has raised $1,500 for through classroom fundraisers. At the end of the presentation, students gave the Jouberts letters to take back to students at Gudigwa and participated in an auditorium-wide ROAR for big cats around the world, while being reminded that even people who live in New York City far from big cat populations can make a difference in protecting them.

Dereck and Beverly Joubert are award-winning filmmakers from South Africa who have been filming, researching, and exploring in Africa for over 25 years. Their coverage of unique predator behavior has resulted in 22 films (and five Emmys), 10 books, six scientific papers, and many articles for National Geographic magazine. As Explorers-in-Residence with National Geographic, the Jouberts are now focused on developing solutions to halt big cat endangerment, which has seen the number of lions in Africa drop from 450,000 to 20,000 in just 50 years.

“We no longer have the luxury of time when it comes to big cats,” says Dereck. “They are in such a downward spiral that if we hesitate now, we will be responsible for extinctions across the globe. If there was ever a time to take action, it is now.”

Learn more about ‘Big Cat Week’ and the Big Cats Initiative.


naacp image awards taraji henson janelle monae octavia spencer

21st Century Fox businesses took home a collective 11 trophies from the 48th NAACP Image Awards on February 11, scoring wins for acting and directing on film and television projects such as Empire, Atlanta, The People v. O.J. Simpson, This Is Us, and Hidden Figures. The ceremony, which celebrates the accomplishments of people of color across the media landscape, was broadcast live on TV One and was hosted by Anthony Anderson.

A complete list of 21CF businesses wins is as follows:

  • Outstanding Motion Picture – Hidden Figures (20th Century Fox)
  • Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture – Taraji P. Henson, Hidden Figures
  • Outstanding Television Movie, Limited Series or Dramatic Special – The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story (FX)
  • Outstanding Directing in a Dramatic Series – John Singleton, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
  • Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Limited Series or Dramatic Special – Courtney B. Vance, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
  • Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series – Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us (20th Century Fox Television)
  • Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series – Taraji P. Henson, Empire (FOX)
  • Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series – Jussie Smollett, Empire
  • Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series – Donald Glover, Atlanta (FX)
  • Outstanding Song (Traditional) – Kim Burrell and Pharrell Williams, “I See a Victory,” Hidden Figures soundtrack
  • Outstanding Literary Work (Nonfiction) – Margot Lee Shetterly, Hidden Figures

“There are roles you accept that scare you. And this one did because I failed math,” Henson said during her acceptance speech for her role as Katherine G. Johnson in Hidden Figures. “I made it my mission to do this film. This film was very important. It was bigger than me.”

Both Hidden Figures and The People v. O.J. Simpson were the focus of recent social impact campaigns. Hidden Figures has become a rallying cry for diversity in STEM, screening at the White House in December and serving as the basis for the Search for Hidden Figures scholarship contest last fall. 21CF also partnered with the LA Promise Fund to screen the film for nearly 10,000 young women in LA middle and high schools. Last year, the company took The People v. O.J. Simpson on a screening tour of HBCU campuses around the country.

21CF received 34 total nominations, including nods for FOX’s Lethal Weapon and Pitch, National Geographic’s StarTalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson, 20th Century Fox Television’s Fresh Off the Boat and The Carmichael Show, and Fox Searchlight’s The Birth of a Nation.

"The Image Awards is the premier showcase for art and advocacy reflecting the depth and diversity of the African-American experience," said Cornell William Brooks, President and CEO, NAACP. "It is an American prism through which we see a breadth of culture and color reflected in film, television, music, and literature in ways that reveal our shared humanity. At a moment when America is so divided, the Image Awards represents an hour that brings us together.”

Learn more about this year’s NAACP Awards, and view the full list of winners.