Auditions for newscasters at Russian Public Television (OTR) yielded some unexpected surprises about how little applicants know about their country and the world.
In addition to reading sample news reports, prospective anchors were asked a series of questions, ranging from “what is ambition?” to “what form of government does Spain have?” Some of the auditions were made public in a video on OTR’s website.
WATCH: OTR news anchor auditions (in Russian)
Some of the most creative responses came in response to the question, “Who was Sergei Magnitsky?”
Here is an example of some of the more outlandish answers given:
He had acid sprayed in his face.
He was poisoned and died in the United States of America.
Sergei Magnitsky was denied permission to leave Great Britain.
Sergei Magnitsky was a child who was adopted in America and the boy was locked in a truck through the carelessness of his parents.
In truth, Magnitsky was a whistle-blowing lawyer who died in a Moscow jail while in pretrial detention in 2009.
Rights activists around the world charge that he died because he was not given adequate medical treatment.
He is currently posthumously facing charges of tax evasion and fraud in a Moscow court.
Some applicants were also unable to say where the Volga River flows and couldn’t give a sensible definition of the word “ambitious.”
The responses left OTR General Director Anatoly Lysenko pretty frustrated.
“I’m sad,” he said. “A journalist must be an educated, curious, and inquisitive person. And a journalist must read — and read as much as possible. He needs to get his information from books and not from Wikipedia.”
The creation of Russian Public Television was one of the innovations of former President Dmitry Medvedev.
According to the decree establishing it, OTR was supposed to begin as a “free and accessible channel without censorship or advertising” on January 1.
Although the channel’s website is up and running, the broadcast debut has been pushed back to March 19.
— Central Newsroom