We the people set the agenda: One man’s fight to save the planet one story at a time

By Buzzword – April 9, 2014

Cute images of sea otters, baby polar bears, and pictures of exotic places around the globe don’t cut it for Michael Hanrahan. While he spent his early career working for media companies like the Discovery Channel, BBC, and The Nature Conservancy, he recognizes the films he helped produce in the ‘90’s didn’t provide much intellectual stimulation or touch upon hard-hitting environmental stories. Instead, the soft science and visual fluff broadcasted onscreen merely aligned with the broadcast industry’s business approach to entertainment.

“They told us their audience flat out wasn’t interested in environmental messages,” recalls Hanrahan as he thought back to a panel of natural history broadcast film commissioners discussing environmental messaging at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival in 1997. “They said, ‘if you want to create environmental programming, you should find another cable company to sell to.’”

Out of that moment, Hanrahan began to wonder just who should set the agenda. “Should we allow the audience to tell us what they want or should we be taking the high road and say this is what you need?” questioned Hanrahan.

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