From The Tellys

Gold Winner Story: National Geographic

A Q&A with Telly Award Gold Winner National Geographic

Claudia Malley, EVP Partner Solutions at National Geographic Partners

We sat down and chatted with the team behind Gold-winning series, Chasing Genius: Inspirational Stories, a series of short form pieces documenting those whose ideas are changing the world. Be sure to find us at one our upcoming screening events to see the work on a big screen!

Where did the idea for “Chasing Genius: Inspirational Stories” come from? Do you have a story that has particularly stuck with you?

The idea for Chasing Genius is rooted in consumer insight that tells us millennials believe they have the power to change the world—and at National Geographic, we believe this to be true.

The Chasing Genius campaign is anchored by immersive editorial storytelling that showcases everyday people who are chasing their inner genius, thus inspiring others to think differently, share ideas and, ultimately, take action.

In an effort to ignite our Chasing Genius community, we identified several stories of individuals creating true global impact and curated them to create a short-form, mini-documentary series. Featuring real stories of people that bring to life the essence of Chasing Genius, each of the stories demonstrated how the spark of an idea could become a force for change in the world and, in turn, activated thousands of individuals to unleash their own potential.  

One story that stands out in particular is that of Kathy Ku. While spending a summer in Uganda teaching, Kathy experienced first-hand one of the biggest problems facing Ugandan families today: access to clean drinking water. Our mini documentary, “Spouts of Hope,” chronicles her experience teaming up with a fellow Harvard student and devising a solution.

What have you found is the key to making successful online series at National Geographic?

Simplicity, authenticity, and relatability are at the core of Chasing Genius and these are the elements that have also paved the way for our online series to break through an oversaturated market. Fortunately, these characteristics are ingrained in our organization’s 130-year-old storytelling DNA.

What new elements are you hoping to experiment with in video in the year ahead?

In addition to including previous Chasing Genius winners in the videos we produce for next year’s challenge, we plan to leverage our learnings as the leading brand on social media to bolster our content with Instagram stories and “tap-umentaries.”

Congratulations on your Gold Telly win! What does this win mean for you and your team?

The recognition and acknowledgement of our industry means the world to us. It inspires us to continue leaning into the National Geographic brand and purpose to identify like-minded partners that will help us engage our communities and create real, global impact.

From The Tellys

New features for the 39th Annual Telly Awards!

A note from the Managing Director

Sabrina Dridje

The summer is drawing to a close and it’s been an exciting one for us here at the Tellys! July saw the rollout of the first of many new initiatives revitalizing the awards for the multi-screen era, including the launch of this new site. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to check out our new feature articles page to stay up to date on how our peers are creating, distributing and monetizing video and television. Our latest piece features eko COO Jim Spare, discussing all things interactive video and engagement.

We also spent the summer programming events, panels and dinners that brought you together to meet, exchange ideas and in some cases, collaborate. We are thrilled to count leading  voices from Vox Media, Hearst Digital Media and Great Big Story amongst those we were able to spend time with. If you will be in NYC on October 19th, please do join us for our panel at NAB NYC with experts from Mashable, The New York Times T Brand Studio and Content Agency, Juniper Jones.

Over these past months I also continued to meet a number of you and ask you how we could better support your work and enable you to promote your work with a bigger impact. The result is a slew of new Telly categories, partners, jurors, and events that we will announce shortly, as well as two key updates to the competition we are excited to share with you ahead of our season opening in October:

Gold Telly Award: That our highest marker for excellence has been represented by silver for 39 years is a quirk that’s entrenched in our nearly four-decade history. However, from meeting a number of you and understanding that an absence of Gold is a confusing signal to the market, we are excited to introduce a Gold Telly which will exclusively be awarded to the top 3% of winning entries.

Winners Announcement: All Telly entries are judged against their own merits which has historically allowed us to notify you of your standing once your work was seen by our Judging Council. After discussions with many of you, we’ve realized that not having one single announcement date hinders your ability to effectively promote your recognition. With that feedback in mind, we are moving to one Winners Announcement date.

 As always, I am here for all feedback, suggestions or simply a hello at and be sure to sign up to our newsletter to stay in touch – we have a number of exciting new announcements to come over the next weeks!


From The Tellys

Celebrate Your Clients and Team This Holiday Season!

Leaves are falling, the air is crisp. That means one thing: holiday season is quickly approaching!

As a Telly Winner and a creator of the industry’s best video work, there are a lot of people who contributed to your project’s success. Recognizing your team and clients for their hand in your achievement is an important way to show you appreciate their hard work and dedication to excellence. And this holiday season is the perfect time to honor those involved in your Telly win. So, we’re offering to send a customized Telly Statuette and Holiday Card on your behalf to your clients and team.

Available at our Telly Store, the Telly statuette is recognized across the industry as the symbol of video excellence, and is a thoughtful reminder of the boundary-pushing work you created.

Telly Holiday Packages include:  

  • A custom engraved Telly Award, packaged in a sleek, fitted box
  • A full-color holiday card with a personalized message from you
  • Limited edition Telly Award gift wrapping, for a personal touch
  • Guaranteed and fast delivery for the holiday season


Note: Order by November 16th to ensure deliverability by December 3rd.

Visit The Telly Store to learn more about our Holiday packages, and order one today! If you have any questions, please contact our Customer Service Team at + (212) 675-3555