Kelly Clarkson. Snoop Dogg. Dua Lipa.
And Lester Holt?
Television viewers on New Year’s Eve tune in for performances by the latest hitmakers and nostalgia acts. This time around, 11 journalists — ranging from familiar faces like Martha Raddatz of ABC to behind-the-scenes editors like Karen Toulon of Bloomberg News — will share the Times Square limelight, part of an effort by organizers to recognize the erosion of press freedoms at home and abroad.
The journalists will be tasked Monday with pressing the crystal button that initiates the minute-long descent of the New Year’s Eve Ball, a prime moment on a night that attracts tens of millions of viewers.
Among the scheduled attendees is Karen Attiah, who edited the Washington Post columns of Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi dissident and American resident who was murdered in Turkey this year by Saudi agents. Mr. Holt of NBC, Alisyn Camerota of CNN, Vladimir Duthiers of CBS and Jon Scott, a weekend anchor on Fox News, are also expected to appear.

Editors from Time, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times are also on the bill, along with Maria Ressa, a journalist in the Philippines whose news site, Rappler, has been threatened by the country’s authoritarian president, Rodrigo Duterte. Ms. Ressa, along with Mr. Khashoggi, was featured on the cover of Time this month for its annual person of the year honor.

The reporters and editors will be part of broadcasts featuring stars like John Legend, Shawn Mendes, Jennifer Lopez, Bebe Rexha, Sting and a reunited New Kids on the Block. The online gamer Ninja will lead Times Square revelers in a mass performance of the Floss, the viral dance craze.
Journalists do not carry quite the same star power as past honorees, like Muhammad Ali or Lady Gaga, who memorably kissed the mayor at the time, Michael R. Bloomberg, in the first moments of 2012. But even a brief recognition from viewers will go a long way, said Joel Simon, the executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, a nonprofit group that promotes press rights and helped coordinate the event.

“People who are watching across the country will see the media together, standing on the stage, visually united behind this principle,” Mr. Simon said in an interview. “That’s a positive message at a time when journalists around the world are threatened as never before.”
Tim Tompkins, the president of the Times Square Alliance, has sought in recent years to leverage the ball drop’s worldwide audience to promote civic causes. Tarana Burke, the founder of the #MeToo movement, appeared onstage last year. David Miliband, who runs the International Rescue Committee, a humanitarian aid group for refugees, was a guest on Dec. 31, 2014.

This year’s idea came about after a conversation between Mr. Tompkins and an acquaintance from his college days, Jacob Weisberg, a former editor in chief of Slate and a Committee to Protect Journalists board member.
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