Society looks – and shows. Vitaly Ignatenko on the role of television for the individual and the individual for television

Vitaly Nikitich, what do you want to remember in connection with the anniversary? Maybe how did you first come here, how was the Public Television of Russia born?

Vitaly Ignatenko: Our anniversary is, one might say, children’s (smiles). For television, ten years is a very young age. Television is, after all, a type of mass media that includes a lot: technology, culture and imagery … Therefore, the formation of any TV channel is always very difficult. So our young age sometimes makes even me, a professional, wonder how much those who came here in the first days managed to do! First of all, this concerns Anatoly Grigoryevich Lysenko, the founder of OTR. Here – look – in my office his portrait occupies the main place.

Yes I see.

Vitaly Ignatenko: And I understand that building a channel in our country from scratch with limited financial and technological capabilities is worth a lot. And those people who came here in the first days stayed here: we have a lot of them now – most of the employees. And I personally value each of them very much. I think that they have made a creative, service breakthrough. In any case, they showed that in our journalistic workshop there are and always will be those who can handle serious tasks. And this is especially important today, when one has to watch how colleagues from Channel One, from the All-Russian State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company and others are building broadcasting in new territories. They will definitely be able to do it! More efforts will be required, including organizational ones, but it will be possible. This is my first and main conclusion.

Second conclusion: Public television has found its niche in a wide range of TV channels, radio frequencies, newspapers and other media. In the country today there is television for every taste, there are all kinds of platforms where you can always find what excites you. This is history, culture, education, information, and so on. But OTR is a channel that has found its place, and it is very important. And the task of today’s OTR team is not only to keep it, but to improve in every possible way communication with people who make up the serious and intellectual, human and civil potential of our society. First of all, these are people who are interested in the country developing, being successful, big, bright and strong.

Public Russian television is still based on personalities. Your programs are hosted by Sergey Lomakin, Leonid Mlechin, Viktor Loshak, Anatoly Torkunov, Maryana Lysenko, Pavel Gusev – the list goes on. In my opinion, it is important to find personalities, examples, lessons in television today. Faceless television has no future, although seriously, I know, there is even discussion of artificial intelligence that can replace the presenters and announcers.

Vitaly Ignatenko: I think that our country is incredibly rich in bright, deep, intelligent people. Their ideas, their attitude to life is not only their own property, it strengthens our entire society. Especially if we find a person who has succeeded in life, he has done a lot for the country – everyone is interested to know why he succeeded. And everyone can wonder if he himself has enough gunpowder for self-realization …

Leonid Mlechin Photo: TV channel OTR

And therefore, it is very important for us that in the same television format we have academician Zelensky, and the outstanding doctor Pirogov, and oil workers, and volunteers, and the guys who today defend the independence and integrity of our country in the battles in Donbas. We must demonstrate such a moral code of our people on the channel. Do not regret for this time! And that’s why you can spend the whole day at the OTR screen and see how incredibly rich our country is, namely pioneers, people who, with their, perhaps, modest work, create a very worthy world around them.

Including us – journalists – you have on the channel, say, such programs as “Colleagues” or “Club of Chief Editors”.

Vitaly Ignatenko: We understand that there is no province in journalism. We find deep and incredibly necessary materials for us from our colleagues who work in regional television broadcasting. Let me cite as an example our most important award, which bears the name of Anatoly Lysenko. It was established by OTP on the eve of its 10th anniversary. As part of the “Colleagues” project, the jury selected the best works of journalists from regional television companies, and the awards ceremony is already underway today. NAT President Eduard Sagalaev, whose departure we greatly grieve, managed to work on the jury of the award before his departure, and the laureates were determined by him personally.

And these names once again confirm that there is no province for Russian television. The best works that we receive from our regional television and radio companies can do credit to any federal channel.

It is important for us that in one television format we have both oil workers, and volunteers, and guys who today defend the independence and integrity of our country in the battles in Donbas

That is, the Anatoly Lysenko Prize turned out to be a kind of honor board for the TV channel?

Vitaly Ignatenko: We have wonderful colleagues from the Kherson region, Zaporozhye, Luhansk, Donetsk. Can you imagine the conditions under which they work to create high-quality TV shows? Of course, we brought them to the federal level, and this is very important. Sometimes they say: television brings each person closer to humanity. We do not set ourselves such a big task – it is enough that OTR brings each viewer closer to both the problems that exist in Russia and the strength that our country gives to everyone.

For example, we are doing a cycle of large programs “Father’s House”. It seems to be a simple story: a person has succeeded in life, returns to himself, to the place where he was born, and sees how he can help there. Build a school, hospital, sports club and so on. And he does it at his own expense. And none of these people would ever think of pretending to be a hero.

Here is an example – a story told in one of the programs. In one small workers’ settlement, almost everyone left. There was no work there, drunkenness flourished. There were a few rickety houses left and that’s it. And a man who was born there arrived, saw all this, and together with his family they spent all their savings – they built hospitals, schools, a hockey palace … A decent life returned to the town.

Are people coming back?

Vitaly Ignatenko: Yes. Doctors, teachers – those people from this village who once left. And today there is a wonderful microclimate. And every week we make a program about such people. Their to-do list is long. And for us it is very important that there are devotees, volunteers, volunteers, enthusiasts on the channel.

Is it interesting for young people?

Vitaly Ignatenko: Very! We especially see that young people are interested in the volunteer movement, pioneering things.

Today it seems that all life revolves around the Internet and platforms, and television has faded into the background. Is it really somehow redistributed, or television, as it was, and will be ahead?

Vitaly Ignatenko: I think that Internet platforms and other alternative electronic means cannot be considered rivals for television. Everything is in interaction. Television moves with its best materials to platforms, to social networks, for example, such as VKontakte and others. And there is a reverse movement. We have to find different ways, and creating films and programs in a complex is a different task, even more difficult than making television in its purest form.

Special project OTR “Father’s House”. Photo: TV channel OTR

OTR’s website is constantly being updated…

Vitaly Ignatenko: We are developing our site very successfully now, we go through it to social networks and see what a big increase in young viewers and users who choose our materials. But do you know how the Public Television of Russia differs from other TV channels? We have a lot of live broadcasts – every day six hours. We receive up to 12 thousand letters per day, up to 50 thousand calls, up to 15 thousand messages on the site. And all this is live, we do not edit anything. The call goes, the connection is established – and that’s it! And we have not had a single case of someone in the audience behaving in a non-comradely manner, there are no indecencies.

Or even anything provocative?

Vitaly Ignatenko: No. Everyone turns to us really, on business, and expects us to explain and help. And we really value this involvement of our viewers with a great television work. And, of course, I take my hat off to our hosts, who replace each other, but nevertheless, to be on the air three times for two hours and answer, and communicate, and argue with interlocutors is a great professionalism. And many of these presenters are young people. They, frankly, have matured just on these programs.

Here’s another example for you. On May 9, we made our Immortal Regiment. We offered our viewers an open broadcast, please tell us about your relatives, friends, veterans, those who did not return from the war. Send us photos, we will show everyone on the screen. We showed 4928 photos! We received almost 1,500 SMS and 5,000 WhatsApp messages, where people talked about their relatives. And they called us and thanked us for showing all this to the whole country.

What OTP programs should you watch?

Vitaly Ignatenko: Let me tell you what I can’t start my day without. This is the “Reflection” program. I watch it to feel the pulse of the time, the mood in society. Secondly, these are all programs that carry certain lessons. First of all, these are our historical TV programs or dedicated to people who opened new pages in the history of our country or the world.

Now, for example, a series of programs about academicians is starting on the channel. The fact that our country has become one of the great scientific powers did not happen by itself. Behind everything are concrete people, their struggle, overcoming. And so we returned to historical figures who, in spite of any circumstances, became Tupolevs, Babakins, Ilyushins, Lavochkins and so on. This is very important for the viewer to see. It’s amazing, but almost all of them come from some very “shy” towns and villages. And they suddenly, for the most part at a young age, began to do something large-scale with the help of our state.

In addition to scientific programs at the OTR, I would also single out programs devoted to cultural issues. And here our style also consists in telling how the formation of such people as Rostotsky, Shukshin, Todorovsky and others took place. We made a big cycle of joint VGIK. We want to work with other institutions – MAI, Moscow State University and so on. We want to convince and strengthen our viewers in optimism, so that everyone sees that he can succeed in life. This is one of the goals of our channel.

Last question. How without Lysenko?

Vitaly Ignatenko: We do not have such a day that we were without Anatoly Lysenko. Firstly, the chairman of the OTR Public Council, Hero of Russia, doctor Marianna Lysenko is his daughter. The Public Council plays a big role in our life, we coordinate with them plans, materials, our new changes in programs, and so on. Secondly, Anatoly Grigoryevich Lysenko created such a system that it reproduces itself. I mean, we can’t go into some kind of entertainment on the channel, let “people in feathers” and the like run across the screen. A program has been set: there must be a smart channel, it is necessary to involve as much as possible the intellectual, scientific, cultural potential of the regions, first of all, in its work. And if we follow this, then we will not have enough time even hours in a day to implement everything that was laid down when creating such a television, the Public Television of Russia.

Source: Российская газета by

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