The Washington Post aired its first Super Bowl commercial on Sunday focusing on the importance of journalism and the dangers reporters can face on the job.
"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," publisher and CEO Fred Ryan said on the Post's website. "We decided to seize the opportunity to make this a milestone moment in our ongoing campaign."
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) February 4, 2019
The 60-second commercial ran during the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LIII and was narrated by actor Tom Hanks. The newspaper chose the actor because he played former Post executive editor Ben Bradlee in the 2017 film "The Post." The movie explored the publication's decision to print The Pentagon Papers.
Scenes from notable news events from World War II through the present day were hown in the ad. It will also highlight several slain and missing journalists, including freelance reporter Austin Tice. He has been missing in Syria for over six years.
Fredrick Kunkle, co-chair of the Washington-Baltimore News Guild's unit at the Post, tweeted in reaction to the news of the ad. He shared why he thinks the newspaper's money would be better spent on its employees.
"The Post is now paying, say, $5M/30 seconds to tout journalistic freedom during one of the glitziest and – given the NFL’s knee-taking protests and concussions – more controversial sports events in our country," Kunkle tweeted on Saturday.
Kristine Coratti Kelly, the Post's vice president of communications and events, declined to comment by email when contacted by USA Today.