Editors at Work: National Geographic

Emily Shenk Flory is the editorial quality assurance specialist at National Geographic in Washington, D.C.

Photo by Jillian Michelle

How did you get your start?

I’ve always been interested in writing and editing and got my earliest experience as the editor-in-chief of my high school yearbook. I majored in journalism at [Loyola University Maryland] in Baltimore and had a variety of communications internships during that time. After college I did a variety of part-time and freelance gigs, including copy editing for newspapers, managing a literary magazine and writing travel articles for a Baltimore tourism publication. I moved to Washington, D.C., in 2007 and was the managing editor at the Child Welfare League of America for almost five years. During that time I got my  graduate degree in journalism by taking night classes at Georgetown University. I joined National Geographic in 2011.

What does a typical work day look like for you?

Every day is very different, and it depends on what projects and other things are happening, but let me tell you about what my today looks like. I will be writing facts for the Atlas App, editing the “Photo of the Day” caption and working on a travel post on Manchester, England. A big part of my job is editorial quality assurance. I check for any errors that slip through like typos and make sure links aren’t broken. I’m looking at it all as a package before it goes live.

 What is your favorite part about your job?

I love to travel and am always planning my next trip. I’ve been to six continents so far. I like my job on the digital copy desk because I get to work with many different teams at National Geographic and see the incredible content they’re creating in adventure, culture, science and exploration. The best thing about this job is that I get to see the world from my desk every day.

Is there a project or piece of writing that has been your favorite to work on?

I’ve worked on many interesting projects, but I think the Deepsea Challenge project stands out because it was during my first year at National Geographic. We launched the Deepsea Challenge site while James Cameron was attempting his record-breaking dive to the deepest point in the ocean. It was exciting to read dispatches from the ship each day and play a small part in sharing the expedition with the world.

 Is working at National Geographic something you always wanted to do, or did the opportunity just happen to present itself?

 I always knew that I wanted to work for National Geographic, and I had tried to get in here for several years. I applied for 5–10 jobs before, and when I applied for this position, I finally got my first interview and am now here.

Why did you always want to work for National Geographic?

 I think most journalists can remember looking through National Geographic magazine as a kid and being completely captivated by the stories. I know I can. The sense of wonder National Geographic’s storytelling inspires is something that never gets old, and I say that as someone who now reads our content every single day. It’s an exciting place to be.


National Geographic offers a limited number of internship opportunities for college students. Internship positions are offered in various divisions at the company’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. For more information and to see listed internships, visit www.FoxCareers.com.

—Katherine Grygo ’16