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David Maxwell Braun

of National Geographic Society

Forty years in U.S., UK, and South African media gives David Braun global perspective and experience across multiple storytelling platforms. His coverage of science, nature, politics, and technology has been published/broadcast by the BBC, CNN, NPR, AP, UPI, National Geographic, TechWeb, De Telegraaf, Travel World, and Argus South African Newspapers. He has published two books and won several journalism awards. He has 120,000 followers on social media.

Assignments in 80 countries/territories included visits to a secret rebel base in Angola, Sahrawi camps in Algeria, and Wayana villages in the remote Amazon. Braun traveled with Nelson Mandela on the liberation leader's Freedom Tour of North America, accompanied President Clinton and Chelsea Clinton to their foundation's projects in four African countries and Mexico, covered African peace talks chaired by Fidel Castro in Havana and Boutros Boutros-Ghali in Cairo, and collaborated with Angelina Jolie at World Refugee Day events in Washington, D.C. As a member of the National Geographic Expeditions Council, and media representative to the Society's Committee for Research and Exploration, he joined researchers on field inspections in many parts of the world.

Braun has been a longtime member/executive of journalist guilds, press clubs, and professional groups, including the National Press Club (Washington) and editorial committee of the Online Publishers Association. He served as WMA Magazine of the Year Awards judge (2010-2012), advisory board member of Children's Eyes On Earth International Youth Photography Contest (2012), and multimedia/communications affiliate of the International League of Conservation Photographers (2015-2016).

National Geographic Career (1997-Present)

David Braun is director of outreach with the digital and social media team illuminating the National Geographic Society’s explorer, science, and education programs.

He edits National Geographic Voices, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society's mission and major initiatives. Contributors include grantees and Society partners, as well as universities, foundations, interest groups, and individuals dedicated to a sustainable world. More than 10,000 conversations have been posted, eliciting more than 50,000 moderated comments from readers.

Braun also directs the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship. Now in its fourth year, the Fellowship has drawn hundreds of applications from Americans seeking the opportunity to spend nine months abroad, engaging local communities and sharing stories from the field with a global audience.

Braun's earlier career at National Geographic included two years as Public Affairs Editor and 14 years as founding editor of National Geographic News. As Vice President and Editor in Chief of Digital Media (2007-2014), he was responsible for news, science, environment, home page, editorial services, blogging, newsletters, daily app, and sponsored content. He was the principal digital executive for planning and managing consolidation of digital media with the magazine in 2012.

He served on the National Geographic Expeditions Council, Editorial Council, and as a media representative to the Committee for Research and Exploration, Conservation Trust, and Big Cats Initiative. He was the senior editor responsible for the Great Energy Challenge (2011-2015). He edited the best-seller “Tales of the Weird: Unbelievable True Stories” (NG Books, Oct. 2012). He was a National Geographic Bee preliminary final round moderator for six years and a regular guest on the Nat Geo Weekend radio show.

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Owls: A Guide to Every Species in the World

Found on every continent other than Antartica, the owl is anything but an unexceptional bird. Their piercing gaze, uncanny ability to swivel their heads in the round, and their spooky stealth has long made them the subjects of art, literature, and films. And even those only slightly interested in birdwatching can’t help being thrilled by hearing or seeing an owl in the wild.

‘Outdated’ IUCN Red List Is Missing Hundreds of Threatened Bird Species, Duke Scientists Find

More than 200 bird species in six rapidly developing regions are at risk of extinction despite not being included on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of at-risk species, research led by Duke University scientists has found.

The study, published today in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances, used remote sensing data to map recent land-use changes that are reducing suitable habitat for more than 600 bird species in the Atlantic forest of Brazil, Central America, the western Andes of Colombia, Sumatra, Madagascar and Southeast Asia, Duke said in a news statement. “Of the 600 species, only 108 are currently classified by the IUCN Red List as being at risk of extinction.”

Delving into cultural myths, tales and beliefs about wild birds

Birds have long fascinated humans, and not only because they can do what we can’t: jump into the air and fly. They are everywhere we have settled on Earth, and in many places we have not. We admire them for their variety of shapes, feathers, and song. But we are also often annoyed and sometimes scared by them. So it is little wonder that birds have inspired so much art, music, and folklore, from the dove that was the harbinger of the end of the great biblical flood to the swallows that signal the onset of summer.

Urban Forests: What city trees do for us, and what we should do for them

It’s a bit of a no-brainer that the trees gracing our sidewalks, parks and other urban spaces are pleasing to the eye, providing soothing shade in the harsh, barren concrete landscape. In city parks, trees provide a place for citizens to relax and birds and squirrels to reside. What’s not to like about them? But not many of us…

Galapagos: Preserving Darwin’s Legacy

Part lavishly illustrated coffee table book, part reference book for all ages, the second edition of Tui De Roy’s Galapagos: Preserving Darwin’s Legacy is a must-read-and-keep volume for anyone who has been, or plans to go, to one of the world’s magic places to experience wildlife. If you haven’t been, or will never be able to go, this book is as close as you will get to appreciating and understanding what the Galapagos fuss is all about.

UN Conference Sets Agenda for Rethink of How Cities are Planned, Managed and Inhabited

A major conference on the future of the world’s cities and towns, known as Habitat III, wrapped up in Quito, Ecuador, with delegations adopting a new framework that will set the world on a course towards sustainable urban development by rethinking how cities are planned, managed and inhabited, the United Nations announced in a news statement…

What We Now Know – and Don’t Know — About Honeybees and Colony Collapse Disorder

In honor of September being National Honey Month, National Geographic Voices publishes an extract from a new book, Bees on the Roof (Tumblehome Learning, September 1, 2016). “Bees are fascinating,” says the author and former business journalist Robbie Shell. “I have always been a little wary of them, but I became intrigued after visiting my brother’s backyard beehives and seeing their amazing teamwork and productivity. Then I learned that bees are actually in danger of being wiped out. They had a story that needed to be told.”

Swimming 130 Miles to New York City to Prove Importance of Healthy Rivers

Clean Water Advocate and New York Native Christopher Swain has already swum the entire lengths of the Hudson River, the Gowanus Canal, and Newtown Creek. Now the 48-year-old father of two plans to swim more than 130 miles from the easternmost tip of Long Island, to the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.  His route includes the entire lengths of…

Fighting Wildlife Crime: Communities Work to Turn Away Poachers (Video)

Every single living organism on Earth has a role to play for the ecosystem to be balanced, says Fominyam Njoh Christopher, Conservator for Kimbi-Fungom National Park, Cameroon.

A challange for the new national park in the West African country is to find ways “through [a] participatory approach” to win the support and cooperation of the people who live in the villages around the park. “We try to win them on our side, get their confidence, ask them to collaborate with us, and make them understand the benefit of having that wildlife in there,” he explains in this video.

Fighting Wildlife Crime: “Poaching Is Stealing From All of Us” (Video)

“We do get captivated by media, by the attention drawn to other countries, to the big animals that are being slaughtered by poachers. And we do forget that we have the same problems going on in our backyards.” Those are the words of Shelley Hammonds, Regional Law Enforcement Coordinator, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, spoken in this video interview.

Fighting Wildlife Crime: Rangers Face Serious Dangers (Video)

There are many challenges rangers face, says Fyson Suwedi, in this video. A Senior Assistant Parks and Wildlife Officer in Malawi’s Lengwe National Park, he should know. “Poachers look at rangers as obstacles. They can do anything to make sure they get what they want. They can kill the rangers,” he says. The video is part of a series featuring voices of those fighting against organized wildlife crime.

Emerging Explorer Manu Prakash Receives MacArthur ‘Genius Grant’

Manu Prakash, a physical biologist applying his expertise in soft-matter physics to illuminate often easy to observe but hard to explain phenomena in biological and physical contexts and to invent solutions to difficult problems in global health, science education, and ecological surveillance, is one of 23 extraordinary individuals named 2016 “Genius Grant” winners, the MacArthur Foundation announced this week. Prakash was named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer in 2015. (Read a National Geographic interview with him).

Fighting Wildlife Crime: “There is Hope” (Video)

Wildlife does not belong to an individual,” says Julius Kamwendwit Cheptei in this video interview. Assistant Director of the Southern Conservation Area, Kenya Wildlife Service Parks and Preserves, Cheptei is a veteran of the struggle to protect his country’s wildlife from poachers, ivory traders, and other criminals. For Cheptei, wild animals belong to everyone, so everyone should be involved in fighting wildlife crime.

“Success is collective…and there’s a lot of hope because everybody all over the world is rallying behind the same. Without hope, we will not be doing what we are doing. There is hope because we come together to preserve it. There is hope because we are fighting for a common good. So there is hope for the survival of these animals. Hope is there for me, for you, for my children, and your children, too. There is hope.”

Fighting Wildlife Crime: Unsung Heroes (Video)

Wildlife trafficking today is unlike anything the world has ever seen before,” says Bryan Christy in this video. The award-winning investigative journalist and National Geographic Fellow adds: “Rare animals are being exploited by criminal syndicates who have access to advanced technology, advanced weapon systems. There’s a huge imbalance in terms of the resources Law Enforcement have…

Uniting Against Organized Wildlife Crime

Law enforcement agencies, NGOs, and business leaders gathered from across the world in Washington this week to share information and expertise and organize a concerted strategy to combat the global scourge of wildlife trafficking.

The unprecedented collaboration was heralded at the National Geographic Society’s headquarters on Tuesday, at an event held against the backdrop of recent news of a catastrophic plunge in the last wild populations of African elephants and other species. The meeting also set the stage for CITES CoP17, a conference in Johannesburg at the end of this month that will bring more than a hundred governments together to review the planet’s biggest wildlife challenges and opportunities.