National Geographic interviews President Obama on Midway Atoll

National Geographic
Published January 7, 2017

As senior producer for the magazine and news digital video team, I led the digital video strategy and production for National Geographic's exclusive interview with President Obama on Midway Atoll.

Snorkeling With President Obama: How Our Photographer Got the Shot

I produced this short video about how National Geographic photographer Brian Skerry was given a unique opportunity to photograph President Obama snorkeling in the newly expanded Papahānaumokuākea National Marine Monument around Midway Atoll.

The footage was filmed by a TV crew who was there to film a segment for the special “Sea of Hope: America’s Underwater Treasures.” And the photographer was there to document the event for an upcoming magazine story that would run at the same time.

This digital video accompanied both roll-outs, was published in the digital version of the magazine issue and was used to promote the show digitally and on social.

A few months earlier: 

When National Geographic had an exclusive opportunity to interview President Barack Obama on Midway Atoll, we knew we had to figure out a way to do a quick-turn video. The bulk of the footage would be kept for a documentary special later in the year, but the story of the President visiting Midway, and about a fish that would be named after him, would be old news by then, so we couldn’t hold everything.

As senior producer for the magazine / news digital video team, I lead the digital video effort and coordinated with the television crew. Budget, and limited room on the chartered plane, meant that only the TV crew could travel with the President. So from DC, I planned how and who could upload a section of compressed footage from a hotel in Hawaii upon landing from Midway.

This social-friendly video was published within an hour of the footage being downloaded.

Meet The Fish Named After President Obama 

When the full-resolution footage arrived via hard drive later on, we turned around this short clip featuring Sylvia Earle to accompany an article and for use as promotion for the upcoming documentary. 

Article: Obama Says Hawaii—and Mom—Shaped Love of Nature

President Obama on Deep-Sea Diving and One Unimpressed Seal 

Eventually the full magazine feature published, as well as the TV special, and I produced this video to accompany both and promote the story. Craig is a print reporter and doesn’t usually conduct his interviews on camera. But he was up for being filmed by the TV crew so that we could create a digital video to go with his story. 

President Obama Credits Mom and Hawaii For His Love of Nature