'Nat Geo' Distributes Face Transplant Story Cross-Platform

National Geographic is taking its popular story on the youngest face transplant recipient in the U.S. across its magazine, television channel and digital video.

After suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Katie Stubblefield, 21, underwent surgery to receive a new face. National Geographic received exclusive access from the Stubblefield family and the Cleveland Clinic to document her life before the transplant, the operating room and her recovery.

Called “Katie’s New Face: A Family Journey,” the documentary will have its TV premiere on the National Geographic Channel this Saturday.

The premiere coincides with National Geographic magazine’s September cover: “The Story of a Face.” The magazine arrives on newsstands August 28.

The cover story, which has more than 1.3 million global unique visitors online, is the most read National Geographic story on its site to date in 2018.  A shortened version of the documentary online  has also become National Geographic’s most popular YouTube video of the year, with 5.9 million views. 



The full-length documentary has an estimated 2.6 million views on YouTube.

On social, the “Story of a Face” Instagram story is the National Geographic’s most successful on its account, with 82 million total impressions across 25 chapters. 

It's not the only National Geographic magazine cover to go viral this summer. Its June issue cover featuring an illustration of a plastic bag resembling an iceberg was widely shared on social media.

The media company also announced this month a number of initiatives centered on educating kids on plastic waste.

National Geographic launched Kids vs. Plastic — a hub on the National Geographic Kids page for children and parents to learn more about the plastic pollution problem, as well as the Tackling Plastic! GeoChallenge, where students can sign up to collaborate, research and create solutions to the plastic waste problem. 

The September theme of National Geographic Education’s Explorer Classroom program will be dedicated to “Ocean Plastics,” where students can learn about the ocean plastic issue.

National Geographic claims more than 8 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean each year.

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