Executive Editor, Science

  • Washington  
  • Company
    National Geographic  
    Start date
  • Closing date
    21 December 2019  
    Posted on
    22 November 2019  


National Geographic.

National Geographic Partners LLC (NGP), a joint venture between Disney and the National Geographic Society, is committed to bringing the world premium science, adventure and exploration content across an unrivaled portfolio of media assets. NGP combines the global National Geographic television channels (National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, Nat Geo MUNDO, Nat Geo PEOPLE) with National Geographic’s media and consumer-oriented assets, including National Geographic magazines; National Geographic studios; related digital and social media platforms; books; maps; children’s media; and ancillary activities that include travel, global experiences and events, archival sales, licensing and e-commerce businesses. Furthering knowledge and understanding of our world has been the core purpose of National Geographic for 131 years, and now we are committed to going deeper, pushing boundaries, going further for our consumers … and reaching millions of people around the world in 172 countries and 43 languages every month as we do it. NGP returns 27 percent of our proceeds to the nonprofit National Geographic Society to fund work in the areas of science, exploration, conservation and education.


The Executive Editor/Science is responsible for making the Science desk the go-to source for reporting on discoveries and major stories in astronomy, paleontology, and geology, and is a national authority on uniquely-told climate change stories and how humans and nature are adapting. In each of these areas, the Executive Editor/Science directs coverage of how discoveries and events affect our daily lives, and what this reveals about our world. In the areas of science, this desk reports on human origins, modern health and genetics, biotechnology, psychology, and major medical breakthroughs. On environment, it covers all aspects of the plastic waste problem and efforts to solve it; explore national parks and protected areas on land and sea, as well as efforts to limit the human footprint; and threats and changes to our oceans. The Executive Editor in this position is an experienced manager able to motivate the team to produce stories and other content across print and digital platforms that is surprising, sensitive and groundbreaking. This editor needs to have broad knowledge of science and, to a lesser extent, environment, active involvement with sub-editors in the editing and packaging of articles from conception to publication, the ability to find and nurture outside writing talent, and comfort with outreach to the public as well as collaboration with other areas including the National Geographic Society. 


As part of the executive team reporting to the Features Editor, the Executive Editor/Science will contribute to strategic planning and decision-making about content that fulfills the mission of National Geographic to inform the public about scientific discoveries, environmental threats and the other topic areas outlined above; help direct and develop editorial content that positions National Geographic at the forefront of print and digital publications in the area of reporting about science and environment. Specifically:

  • Oversee and help to direct all of National Geographic’s science and environment -- both in regular issues, special newsstand issues, and on digital platforms -- by independently finding, developing, and promoting potential articles; by reading submissions for stories and reviewing proposals from writers, photographers, scientists, and project leaders; by recruiting new talent to produce stories; by working with the Features Editor and other editors to produce top-quality articles, advising on all aspects of the coverage; by collaborating with the Features Editor and with other divisions of National Geographic Partners and the National Geographic Society. 
  • Work with writers, photo editors, photographers and the graphics and design team to plan coverage and approach. Set budgets for stories assigned to the team. Review all science and environment stories being edited by other text editors, working closely with the Features Editor, Managing Editor/Magazines, Managing Editor/Digital, and Managing Editor/Integrated Storytelling. 
  • Evaluate manuscripts for storytelling, logic, style, readability, and interest. Work with writers to improve articles through revision. Help recruit new talent to produce groundbreaking content. Work with research, caption writers, illustrations editors, designers, and map editors to package the article in a coherent and compelling whole; work with Executive Editor/Text to finalize the content to publication. 
  • Be knowledgeable about current stories involving science and environment. Is able to represent National Geographic at industry conferences (writers and editors conferences, topic-oriented conferences, etc.). Be a leader in outreach on projects with other partners, from Pew to ProPublica to the Aspen Institute, planning and participating in such programs that address important issues and promote the National Geographic mission. 


An undergraduate degree is required. 

The ideal candidate will have at least 8 years of magazine editorial experience, including supervisory responsibility. Strong background in writing, editing, and story development, with a broad knowledge of science and environment. 

Specifically, the individual should possess most of the following qualifications and characteristics: 

  • Superior line editing and conceptual editing skills.
  • Big-picture editorial skills and strategic thinking.
  • Ability with headlines, decks, call-outs, coverlines, sidebars.
  • Highly developed ability to recognize and create story ideas, including ideas with major visual component.
  • Experience working with documentary-style photography.
  • Cheerful unflappability under deadline and other pressure.
  • Ability to work cooperatively with multi-personality story teams.
  • Ability to help with recruiting and retaining a talented staff and attract the best freelance writers and photographers
  • Must work well with many different divisions as well as those outside National Geographic. Some travel. Some public speaking. 

We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, gender identity, disability, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. We will consider for employment qualified applicants with criminal histories consistent with applicable law.