By Andy Lloyd
Ryerson journalism grads are lining up to take it all off for the camera, says the executive producer of Naked News.
David Warga says 18 Ryerson journalism grads applied to be naked newscasters over the past year.
Naked News produces two daily newscasts for the Internet, one with a female cast and one with a male cast. Both shows feature anchors and reporters who remove their clothes as they deliver the news. It has recently added a weekly show on City TV.
Warga said that while having a degree in broadcast journalism is an asset, he’s looking for a package deal — strong broadcast skills and a great naked body. Applicants to the program go through an interview and are asked to read a news script while fully clothed.
“I’d say 70 per cent of the people don’t know how to pronounce Yasser Arafat. If someone has no interest in reading the paper and staying up on current events, then they’re not the kind of people we’re interested in,” Warga said.
Candidates who make it past the first round are asked to strip to a comfortable level. Full nudity isn’t a necessity right off the bat, but Warga says if applicants can’t get naked in front of two people, their chances aren’t good. If the producers like what they see, they’ll call back for a screen test.
Vince Carlin, chair of Ryerson’s journalism program, declined to comment on the show, dismissing its legitimacy. He did however doubt Warga’s claim that 18 Ryerson journalism grads have applied for on-camera jobs in the past year.
“I don’t think our grads are that desperate,” Carlin said.
And students in the broadcast journalism program seem to agree with him.
Katie Garton, a third year broadcast journalism student, is one of them.
“I don’t think they really care about the news. They talk about serious issues but how can it be taken seriously? There’s no equivalency between the Naked News and Allison Smith,” Garton said, referring to the CBC news anchor. “Can you imagine watching coverage of 9/11 from a naked newscaster?”
Warga staunchly defends his newscast.
“I will put any of out anchors up against any newscaster in Canada. Watch the show and you tell me they’re not professional newscasters. They’re excellent,” Warga said.
He said the Job offers invaluable on-camera experience to anyone looking for a career in broadcast journalism.
“If you’re comfortable reading the news naked, you’re going to be a good newscaster anywhere,” Warga said.