Kaitlin Yarnall


Kaitlin Yarnall is the Deputy Director for the Centers of Excellence in Journalism, Mapping and Photography at the National Geographic Society.  She oversees programs, funding, and outreach in these core storytelling areas. She also manages the Photo Engineering team at National Geographic and is tasked with leading innovation and engineering efforts for conservation and storytelling. Kaitlin has previously held the roles of Executive Editor of National Geographic Magazine, Director of Cartography, and Deputy Creative Director.


Yarnall was the lead editorial manager for National Geographic’s groundbreaking food initiative, which launched in 2014. This multi-year platform remains National Geographic’s most commercially successful editorial initiative. In addition to her editorial work, she negotiated and oversaw groundbreaking collaborations and contracts with multiple UN agencies around food security and agriculture. Yarnall was also deeply involved in conceptualizing the storytelling for past National Geographic series on urban impacts and population. 


Yarnall frequently speaks on topics such as storytelling, data visualization, mapping, and visual narratives. She has been a keynote speaker at conferences globally and addressed the UN General assembly, Scandinavian royals, and rock concert stadiums. Yarnall has written extensively about information graphics, data visualization, and cartography. Her book contributions include publications by Taschen, Gestalten, and other international publishing houses. She frequently serves as a jury member for international journalism and design competions.


Kaitlin has been with National Geographic for eleven years, where she started her career as a cartographer. She studied Latin American literature and geography at Humboldt State University and earned her MA in geography from the George Washington University. A California native, Kaitlin lives in Washington DC.