Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Brush with Fame: National Geographic and ABC

I'm just going to have to face it: I am not compelling enough for television. I'm barely entertaining enough to have a blog. So, as much as I would like to use media sources to get the word out about ways to conserve and be greener etc., I'm no Jeff Corwin.

Almost, but not quite.

Fortunately, there are journalists out there who are taking care of business. One such journalist is Dan Harris of ABC's Good Morning America, who attended a day of the ZACC (Zoos and Aquariums Committing to Conservation) conference. After delivering a keynote address, he moderated a presentation session emphasizing conservation through media and art. I also attended a similarly-focused round-table discussion he led, during which Dan Harris invited us to pitch ideas for Good Morning America stories. So I contemplated what sort of bit I could suggest.

Selfishly, I wanted to be part of the story and yet, it turns out I'm boring. I did think of a couple of Point Defiance Zoo-related stories that Mr. Harris might be interested in, but all media attention falls squarely in the laps of the full-time staff. At least 57% of me wanted to answer, "As a matter of fact, I am incredibly compelling." But I will have to earn my fifteen minutes of fame another way.

As if my attendance at Comic Con weren't enough to confirm my social awkwardness, after the round-table discussion I approached Dan Harris and said, "At the risk of being a complete dork, if you don't mind, I would really like to have a picture taken with you." He smiled and said, "Of course."

"But wait," I continued. "I'm going to get dorkier. I would really like it if the gentleman from National Geographic would take the picture." There was indeed a director of research from National Geographic sitting directly behind us.

Dan Harris swiftly and politely asked Kyler Abernathy of National Geographic if he would please indulge me and take the photo. Here it is:

That's right. The director of research at National Geographic took my picture with an anchor from ABC. That is as close as I'll get to fame.

So the picture FEELS like this:

More information about the ZACC conference will follow, but if you're dying for some saving-an-adorable-animal-in-peril coverage, watch this story about tree kangaroos. Also, Mr. Abernathy is part of the team behind National Geographic's Crittercam, through which you can swim with humpback whales and watch the pursuit of an octopus from a sea lion's perspective. If you haven't seen Crittercam's stunning footage yet, you absolutely must.

And, in the meantime, if you think of any fascinating stories that would make compelling journalism, let me know. Also, I'm totally willing to be on a reality TV show about zoos. Just throwing that out there.


  1. You're world famous!

    Also, I felt really sorry for that poor little guy jumping out of the tree, only to be trapped. But what an amazing creature! And that jungle looks incredible. Also, the anchor introducing the story is annoying. You should take her job.

  2. I will look into taking over the anchor's job :) Yeah, I felt sorry for the little guy too. Geronimo!

  3. That is awesome! I think it may even trump my Sherman Alexie story. The only question is, will the National Geographic photographer now charge $250 for an 8x10 print of that picture?

  4. I will never trump your Sherman Alexie story. And I don't know about the Kyler, but if you'd like a copy of the photo, I will certainly charge you $250.

  5. Put it on my tab. Is my credit still good here?

  6. This is great. I hope you do get to be on a reality show about zoos. I don't know why they haven't done that yet.