National Geographic has announced it is launching a program aimed at promoting diversity and inclusion behind the camera.
The Field Ready Program is described as a two-phased training program that trains entry-level participants to become production assistants. Partnering with National Geographic Society, Nat Geo will choose 10 individuals per year to complete online training followed by a one-week, intensive production boot camp at the company’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. The boot camp will be led by Nat Geo’s producers, videographers and explorers.
Nat Geo hopes to launch the first class into the field by fall 2020. National Geographic Global Television Networks president Courteney Monroe announced the program at the network’s winter Television Critics’ Association press tour day.
“As National Geographic continues to push forward on our ambitious strategy of creating premium content, I could not be more excited to launch the Field Ready Program,” Monroe said. “Our hope is that this program will incubate the next generation of leaders who best represent our audience today.”
Upon graduating the program, the Field Ready production assistants will be unveiled to the wider production community in the hope that they get placed on Nat Geo productions around the world.
“As the global leader in natural history programming, we are profoundly aware that there is a lack of diversity and inclusion in Natural History filmmaking teams,” said Janet Han Vissering, senior vice president of development and production at Nat Geo Wild who is spearheading the program. “This storied genre has exploded in popularity and relevance over the past five years, yet the production talent is more reflective of its beginnings 80 years ago. To stay on the cutting edge in this highly competitive field, cultivating fresh voices and diverse talent is key. We want to make sure that we are leading in this game-changing endeavor.”
“Storytelling is at the very core of National Geographic’s mission, and we are committed to ensuring that historically underserved and under-represented groups are equipped to tell stories in a meaningful way,” added Kaitlin Yarnall, senior vice president and chief storytelling officer at the National Geographic Society. “The Field Ready Program is a groundbreaking approach to diversifying the voices in storytelling, and a natural extension of the work that National Geographic has been doing for more than 130 years.”