“The Super Bowl is a remarkable moment to recognize the courage and commitment of journalists around the world that is so essential to our democracy,” said Fred Ryan, publisher and CEO of The Washington Post. “While most Super Bowl ad producers have the better part of a year, we had the lesser part of a week, but with an event this big, we decided to seize the opportunity to make this a milestone moment in our ongoing campaign to highlight reporters’ work and the importance of press freedom.”
The spot was produced in partnership with Mark Woollen and Associates. Below is the message Publisher Fred Ryan sent to employees:
Dear Washington Post colleagues,I’m writing to share some exciting news. If you are watching the Super Bowl on Sunday, you will see a special message sponsored by The Washington Post.As you know, The Washington Post has a deep commitment to the cause of a free press. This is part of why we launched The Washington Post Press Freedom Partnership, which works with several organizations to champion independent journalism and to highlight the important, and increasingly dangerous, work of journalists around the world.With the murder last year of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, the ongoing detention of freelancer Austin Tice, and the injustice of Jason Rezaian’s 544 days in an Iranian prison, this is an issue that is close to many of us. But The Post is not the only news organization to have experienced such outrageous abuses. Just last year, 64 journalists around the world were killed—and more than 250 jailed—simply for doing their jobs.We feel that this is the right moment, at the right venue, to present this important message to the large audience of Americans and international viewers that watch the Super Bowl.While most Super Bowl ad producers have the better part of a year to prepare their spots, we had the lesser part of a week. I’d like to thank everyone across The Washington Post who dove heart-first into this project and enabled us to produce a powerful message that pays tribute to those who provide the knowledge that is essential to our freedom. It’s a message that everyone who values press freedom can be proud of.And, not to bury the lede, but a great supporter of a free press and friend of The Post, Tom Hanks, kindly provided the narration for our Super Bowl message.So, please watch for this special presentation. It will air in the fourth quarter, just before the two-minute warning.Sincerely,Fred.