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NY Times campaign calls attention to foreign government subversions of the truth


By Kyle O'Brien | Creative Works Editor

January 16, 2019 | 5 min read

Governments in Myanmar and Mexico are covering up stories that need to be told, and The New York Times is using its high-quality journalism to help uncover the truth.

The Truth is Worth It

The Truth is Worth It from The NY Times

The latest campaign from the media outlet, ‘The Truth is Worth It,’ focuses on the truth being twisted and forgotten and how The New York Times needed to shine a light on the untold rigor that it puts into bringing deeply-reported, high-quality journalism to the world.

Two films are centered on the thought that “the truth doesn’t report itself” or the idea that you need a journalist with journalistic drive to bring the truth to light. They feature dynamic text set on top of video clips and stills that depict the story being created and the first person process of the journalist.

The evolving type technique reflects the psychology and thought process of The New York Times journalist – deliberately written in headline case, it changes, moves, deletes and rewrites as it mimics the journalists’ journeys as they chase the truth. The twists and turns of the footage and type ultimately fall into place to make up the final headline that was originally run by The New York Times.

One follows the Myanmar Rohingya Crisis, as journalist Hannah Beech, working in Southeast Asia, worked tirelessly to get a journalist visa into a volatile Northern Rakhine of Myanmar to investigate rumors of genocide she had heard in refugee camps in Bangladesh. Eventually she was allowed in, but as part of a sanitized and whitewashed government press tour. Realizing she wasn't given the full story, she worked to evade her minder on multiple occasions to investigate areas otherwise off limits to journalists. She faked illness and used the rain of the monsoon season as cover to get out of the press tour's car and get into villages and towns to interview locals.

Beech ultimately realized the best sources of information on the region were children, as they delivered unfiltered and uncoached accounts of what actually happened – leading to confirmation of the refugee story.

Another follows a Mexican Spyware cover-up by the Mexican government, uncovered by Mexico City bureau chief Azam Ahmed. He faced down the Mexican government in story after story that held officials to account.

The story finds that Ahmed's phone started acting strangely before he was contacted by a human rights lawyer who informed him that he, and government critics like him, were the target of a sophisticated phone-hacking scheme.

Despite multiple warnings from colleagues, Ahmed proved the lawyer's theory by collecting phones from other government critics and testing them at a Canadian forensics lab. The spyware was found to be an Israeli program intended to be used only by governments to combat crime and terror threats, yet Mexico was using it on private citizens and outspoken government critics. This spyware was later discovered to be in use by other governments, indicating a larger problem of journalist targeting at the hands of government officials.

The campaign, by Droga5, brings to light the bravery, perseverance and rigor that it takes to be a New York Times journalist and ultimately how it delivers on The Times’s mission to help people better understand their world.

The Times campaign comes on the heels of the company announcing a variety of new ways it will use voice to bring Times journalism to its engaged audience of curious people who want to understand the world.

On weekdays, The Times will deliver a short news briefing, hosted by Michael Barbaro of ‘The Daily,’ to Alexa-enabled devices. Listeners can enable the skill by saying, “Alexa, enable The New York Times Briefing.” Once enabled, to hear the top stories of the day, listeners just need to ask, “Alexa, what’s my Flash Briefing?” or “Alexa, what’s in the news?”

Listeners can also test their news knowledge with an interactive news quiz created by the producers of “The Daily.” Every Friday, they can just say, “Alexa, play The New York Times News Quiz” to participate. After they answer a question, listeners will be told whether they’re right or wrong and will be provided additional context based on their response.

In addition, the Sunday print edition will feature enhanced coverage which will include Alexa prompts that readers can use to hear more about stories they will find in the paper that day.

See the 'Truth' films by clicking on the Creative Works box below.

The New York Times: The Truth is Worth It by Droga5

By The New York Times

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Droga5 is a New York City-based global advertising agency with an additional office in London. The agency works across all platforms including, broadcast, print, digital and social, experiential and out-of-home.

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