Lisa LaFlamme, CTV News, and Bad Executive Decisions

Former CTV nationwide anchor
Lisa LaFlamme

There will be no bittersweet on-air goodbye for (now previous) CTV nationwide information anchor Lisa LaFlamme, no ceremonial passing of the baton to the upcoming generation, no broadcast retrospectives lionizing a journalist with a storied and award-winning job. As LaFlamme introduced yesterday, CTV’s guardian firm, Bell Media, has resolved to unilaterally finish her contract. (See also the CBC’s reporting of the tale here.)

When LaFlamme herself does not make this claim, there was of training course quick speculation that the network’s choice has a thing to do with the simple fact that LaFlamme is a girl of a particular age. LaFlamme is 58, which by Tv criteria is not just youthful — other than when you compare it to the age at which well known gentlemen who proceeded her have remaining their respective anchor’s chairs: consider Peter Mansbridge (who was 69), and Lloyd Robertson (who was 77).

But an even more sinister principle is now afoot: rather than mere, shallow misogyny, evidence has arisen of not just sexism, but sexism conjoined with company interference in newscasting. Two evils for the price of a person! LaFlamme was fired, says journalist Jesse Brown, “because she pushed back versus just one Bell Media govt.” Brown experiences insiders as saying that Michael Melling, vice president of information at Bell Media, has bumped heads with LaFlamme a number of occasions, and has a heritage of interfering with news coverage. Brown more reports that “Melling has continually shown a deficiency of respect for ladies in senior roles in the newsroom.”

Pointless to say, even if a private grudge in addition sexism describe what’s going on, in this article, it however will seem to be to most as a “foolish final decision,” just one guaranteed to induce the organization headaches. Now, I make it a coverage not to issue the company savvy of knowledgeable executives in industries I really do not know properly. And I recommend my students not to leap to the summary that “that was a dumb decision” just mainly because it’s just one they never understand. But nonetheless, in 2022, it’s challenging to picture that the firm (or Melling more precisely) did not see that there would be blowback in this situation. It’s 1 detail to have disagreements, but it is a further to unceremoniously dump a beloved and award-winning female anchor. And it is strange that a senior executive at a news business would assume that the truth of the matter would not appear out, given that, following all, he’s surrounded by people today whose task, and private commitment, is to report the information.

And it is tricky not to suspect that this a significantly less than delighted transition for LaFlamme’s replacement, Omar Sachedina. Of system, I’m confident he’s pleased to get the occupation. But while Bell Media’s press launch rates Sachedina indicating swish issues about LaFlamme, surely he didn’t want to assume the anchor chair amidst widespread criticism of the transition. He’s using on the function less than a shadow. Probably the prize is really worth the selling price, but it’s also tough not to think about that Sachedina experienced (or now has) some pull, some potential to impact that method of the changeover. I’m not declaring (as some certainly will) that — as an insider who is aware the authentic tale — he need to have declined the work as sick-gotten gains. But at the extremely least, it looks honest to argue that he really should have utilized his affect to shape the transition. And if the now-senior anchor doesn’t have that variety of affect, we should really be concerned indeed about the independence of that function, and of that newsroom.

A remaining, relevant be aware about authority and governance in complicated companies. In any moderately well-ruled firm, the conclusion to axe a major, community-experiencing talent like LaFlamme would involve sign-off — or at least tacit acceptance — from extra than a person senior govt. This implies that 1 of two matters is accurate. Both Bell Media isn’t that kind of perfectly-ruled firm, or a large number of persons ended up associated in, and culpable of, unceremoniously dumping an award-successful journalist. Which is worse?

Leave a Reply