Ignite Countdown Timer Placeholder Text

Five minutes, 20 slides. What would you say?

At every Ignite, 16 artists, technologists, thinkers, and personalities will take the stage to answer this challenge.


Washington, D.C. 20001
RSVP | Map and Directions

Ignite DC #2

Alan Mairson

Breaking Through The Media Fog

Conventional wisdom says that access to media—social and otherwise—helps connect us to the world and to each other. But what if that's nonsense? What if media and most forms of virtual reality actually blind us to the wonder and beauty of our non-virtual lives? That question haunted me during my 19 years as a staff writer and editor at National Geographic Magazine, a picture palace where images have long reigned supreme. In this talk I'll share three anecdotes about how visual media—especially photography—can obscure the world rather than bring it into focus. I'll also suggest three ways to cut through the media fog that surrounds us all so that we might see a bit more clearly again.

About Alan Mairson:

Alan is a freelance journalist based in Bethesda, Maryland. He's also the founder and blogger-in-chief of Society Matters (www.societymatters.org)—a (slightly quixotic) attempt to crowdsource a new business model to help sustain National Geographic Magazine, where he worked from 1990 to 2008. Alan is also a husband, father, son, brother, baseball coach, Red Sox fan, cyclist, reader, and future-of-journalism-on-the-web junkie who is working hard to cut down on his own screen time.

View all Proposals