The BBC’s first disinformation correspondent has apparently been caught in a lie.
Marianna Spring, one of the BBC’s fastest-rising stars, reportedly embellished the truth on her resume while applying for a job before she joined the broadcaster in 2018.
The New European, a British newspaper, has seen emails between Spring and Natalia Antelava, the editor-in-chief of U.S. publication Coda Story.
Spring was looking for work as a Moscow stringer and is reported to have said on her resume that she worked alongside BBC Eastern Europe correspondent Sarah Rainsford.
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Her CV said: “June 2018: Reported on International News during the World Cup, specifically the perception of Russia, with BBC correspondent Sarah Rainsford.”
Antelava, a former BBC journalist, reportedly checked the claim with Rainsford, who revealed that she had only met Spring in social situations.
Spring apologized for the “awful misjudgement,” according to the emails seen by New European journalist Tim Walker.
“I’ve only bumped into Sarah whilst she’s working and chatted to her at various points, but nothing more. Everything else on my CV is entirely true,” Spring wrote.
She added: “There’s absolute [sic] no excuse at all, and I’m really sorry again. The only explanation at all is my desperation to report out in Moscow, and thinking that it wouldn’t be a big deal, which was totally naive and stupid of me.”
Spring defended herself as a “brilliant reporter.” Antelava replied: “Telling me you are a brilliant reporter who exercises integrity and honesty when you have literally demonstrated the opposite was a terrible idea … I am sure if you use this as a lesson, things will work out.”
Spring went on to forge a successful career at the BBC, where she has become an award-winning and trusted voice on the internet’s dark corners and conspiracy theories.
As well as reporting for BBC News, she has fronted Radio 4 shows and led investigations for Panorama, the corporation’s flagship current affairs brand.
In an interview last month, she told The Times of London she had become a prime target for trolls. A BBC system for monitoring online abuse found that 80% of it was directed at Spring in the first half of 2023. “It’s really normal to really hate me,” she said.
Spring is yet to respond to Deadline’s request for comment.
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