The Times has bought an entire ad break on Channel 4 during Homeland this weekend to screen a short from its Unquiet Films series, documenting the kidnapping and return of foreign correspondent Anthony Loyd and photographer Jack Hill in Syria in May this year.
Bearing Witness airs on Sunday, November 23 and is the first of The Times’ Unquiet Films to be broadcast on TV. Launched in June, the series – a collaboration between News UK, ad agency Grey London and production company Betsy Works – explores the historical and cultural impact of The Times and Sunday Times and the work of editors, journalists and contributors past and present.
The six-minute film features interviews with Loyd and Hill, who discuss their terrifying experience of being shot and abducted by a rebel group while reporting on barrel bombings in Aleppo. It also reflects on the role of war correspondents today, the importance of professional reporting in an era of citizen journalism and the training that photographers and writers must undergo before travelling to war zones.
Other films in the series, released on YouTube and via the Forever Unquiet website, include a look at the paper’s history of investigative journalism, one on its typeface Times New Roman and another on the work of political cartoonist Peter Brookes (read our previous blog posts on the series here and here).
By partnering with Channel 4, The Times will ensure the film reaches a wider audience – it has only been viewed around 2,000 times on YouTube since its release, despite being a great piece of film – and Channel 4 says viewers will be able to interact with it through a microsite promoting subscriptions to the newspaper.
In a statement announcing the ad break takeover, Nick Stringer, chief creative officer at News UK, said: “Bearing Witness tells a powerful story, full of insight into the dangers journalists face in their endeavours to report the truth from hostile environments around the world … Broadcasting this short film on Channel 4 in the Homeland slot is the perfect alignment of contextual relevance, brand fit and the reach of our target audience [described by Channel 4 as “upmarket and highly engaged”].
Homeland will be broadcast on Channel 4 at 9pm (GMT) on Sunday, November 23. See more Unquiet Films here.