Nat Geo Mag to Introduce New Digital Tools

With today’s introduction of MY SHOT, National Geographic magazine will give thousands of users the option to create their own Web pages at to display their best photographs and interact with them through the site’s cutting-edge jigsaw puzzle and memory sorting game applications.

Rob Covey, managing editor and creative director of National Geographic Magazine Online, will announce the new MY SHOT feature today during a case study of YOUR SHOT’s success at “Magazines 24/7,” the Magazine Publishers of America’s 4th Digital Conference, in New York City.

Covey will be the kick-off speaker at 10:15 a.m. for www (What Went Well), a series of case studies about how magazines have successfully built their brands online. The two-day conference, which begins today, is being held at New World Stages, 340 W. 50th St. (between 8th and 9th Aves). Day One is devoted to “Building Audiences, Building Brands.”

Page views for National Geographic magazine’s YOUR SHOT have rocketed from 140,000 a month to nearly 14 million (January 2008) since Covey revamped the feature in summer 2007. YOUR SHOT invites user-generated content with the home-page request to “Take your best shot and send it to us.”

Susan Welchman, photo editor for National Geographic Magazine Online, selects the 12 best user-submitted images and posts them every weekday as the “Daily Dozen.” Through an online feature called “The Voting Machine,” visitors to the site can rate Daily Dozen photos on a scale of 1-10 each month. The photo that visitors rate highest each month is published in National Geographic magazine itself, which reaches 40 million readers a month worldwide. Online ratings for February selections close March 7, 2008.

MY SHOT, which builds off the YOUR SHOT concept, is the latest innovative feature introduced by Covey, who joined National Geographic Magazine Online a year ago after leading the online versions of Discovery Networks’ 14 television properties, including the Discovery Channel, TLC and Animal Planet. He was formerly design director of U.S. News & World Report.

“Through the YOUR SHOT feature we get the most amazing photographs from our users, taken around the globe and in their backyards. The quality and variety is quite simply stunning. MY SHOT will allow our audience to share and comment on each other’s work,” said Covey.

More than 5,000 photographs a month are being submitted to National Geographic’s YOUR SHOT. Any visitor who submits photographs will have the option to become a MY SHOT member and be able to upload and save 100 photographs on their page. Additional photo storage becomes available for members who make it into the “Daily Dozen.”

MY SHOT comes on the heels of an extensive redesign of the Web site launched Feb. 14. The site has a fresh look with enhanced user-participation opportunities. Among many new features are a video hub centralizing video content, a wiki-style feature called GeoPedia that’s attached to feature stories from the magazine, a daily map linked to current events, and three new widgets, with more to come.

National Geographic Magazine Online has been nominated as a finalist for three 2007 Magazine Publishers of America Digital Awards, two of them for the YOUR SHOT feature.’s YOUR SHOT is a finalist in the Best Online Community category; YOUR SHOT Jigsaw Puzzle is a finalist in the Best Web-Only Tool category; and’s “Gorilla Massacre” video is a finalist in the Best Online Video — Standalone category. The winners will be announced at the “Magazines 24/7” conference today.

National Geographic magazine is the official journal of the National Geographic Society.

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