Getting at the truth of any important story isn’t easy. It takes time, perseverance, and it can also take working through threats to your own personal safety. This is abundantly clear in the latest set of ads in The New York Times’s “The Truth Is Hard” campaign.
The first spot, “Resolve,” uses the campaign’s now-familiar dynamic text approach to chronicle how reporter Hannah Beech worked to uncover cracks in the Myanmar government’s official story about the Rohingya crisis in that country. In “Courage,” we see how Mexico City bureau chief Azam Ahmed proved how he, and other critics of the Mexican government, had their phones hacked by officials.
“The ultimate goal of showcasing these stories is to pull back the curtain on the reporting process and show that Times journalism requires time and resources, has real impact on the world, and should be paid for,” says New York Times chief marketing officer David Rubin, noting that these are just two examples of the often difficult conditions many journalists deal with as they come under pressure from governments that want to control and restrict their efforts.
The campaign, created by agency Droga5 and launched two years ago, aired its first ad during the 2017 Academy Awards. While “The Truth Is Hard” campaign has won plenty of ad industry awards, more importantly, Rubin says, it has played an important role in attracting new subscribers. “The campaign in its entirety has been successful in spotlighting specific reporting that explains the important, impactful, and independent journalism that makes a difference in the world,” says Rubin.
Droga5 creative directors Laurie Howell and Toby Treyer-Evans say that while the first ads of the campaign were about reaffirming the importance of the truth and separately showing the hard work that goes into it, these new spots reflect their desire to combine the two. “In taking a more robust approach to telling the story,” say Howell and Treyer-Evans in an email, “[the films] show the heart, rigor, and perseverance of being a journalist and finding the truth while also showing the importance of journalism and the impact it has on the world.”