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National Geographic Names Johns Editor in Cheif


Associate editor Chris Johns has been appointed editor in chief of National Geographic magazine, succeeding William L. Allen, who retired at the end of the year. Johns, whose photographs began appearing in the magazine in 1985, is the ninth full-time editor in the society's 116-year history.

Johns began making changes almost immediately, combining the photography and illustration departments. Dennis Dimick, illustration editor, will head the new department and has been named associate editor for illustrations. The director of photography position was eliminated; Kent Kobersteen, who had held that title since 1998, left the magazine in late January. Supervising the magazine's digital work flow is Ken Geiger, who was hired away from the Dallas Morning News, where he was director of photography.

A native of Medford, Ore., Johns began his career in photojournalism while studying animal science at Oregon State University. He graduated with a degree in technical journalism and a minor in agriculture, and earned his master's degree in photojournalism at the University of Minnesota. In 1979, he was named National Newspaper Photographer of the Year, and he joined the Seattle Times as a picture editor and special project photographer the following year. In the mid-1980s, he decided to go freelance and began contributing to Life, Time and National Geographic. In 2003, he was named one of the world's 25 most important photographers by American Photo magazine.

Before his retirement, Allen served for more than 35 years with the National Geographic Society, the last 10 as editor in chief of its flagship publication. He wrote, photographed or picture-edited dozens of books, educational products and articles for the society.