March 24, 2023

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Lisa LaFlamme, CTV News, and Bad Executive Decisions

3 min read
Lisa LaFlamme, CTV News, and Bad Executive Decisions

Former CTV national anchor
Lisa LaFlamme

There will be no bittersweet on-air goodbye for (now former) CTV countrywide news anchor Lisa LaFlamme, no ceremonial passing of the baton to the future technology, no broadcast retrospectives lionizing a journalist with a storied and award-winning occupation. As LaFlamme introduced yesterday, CTV’s dad or mum organization, Bell Media, has resolved to unilaterally finish her contract. (See also the CBC’s reporting of the story here.)

Although LaFlamme herself does not make this assert, there was of course quick speculation that the network’s choice has anything to do with the actuality that LaFlamme is a female of a specific age. LaFlamme is 58, which by Television benchmarks is not particularly youthful — other than when you compare it to the age at which common guys who proceeded her have still left their respective anchor’s chairs: take into consideration Peter Mansbridge (who was 69), and Lloyd Robertson (who was 77).

But an even a lot more sinister principle is now afoot: fairly than mere, shallow misogyny, evidence has arisen of not just sexism, but sexism conjoined with company interference in newscasting. Two evils for the cost of 1! LaFlamme was fired, says journalist Jesse Brown, “because she pushed again versus just one Bell Media govt.” Brown studies insiders as professing that Michael Melling, vice president of news at Bell Media, has bumped heads with LaFlamme a variety of instances, and has a record of interfering with news protection. Brown even further reviews that “Melling has persistently shown a absence of respect for gals in senior roles in the newsroom.”

Pointless to say, even if a private grudge plus sexism make clear what is likely on, listed here, it still will feel to most as a “foolish choice,” just one positive to induce the firm head aches. Now, I make it a plan not to query the enterprise savvy of experienced executives in industries I never know perfectly. And I recommend my learners not to leap to the conclusion that “that was a dumb decision” just for the reason that it is 1 they don’t fully grasp. But nevertheless, in 2022, it is really hard to envision that the firm (or Melling far more specially) did not see that there would be blowback in this situation. It’s just one issue to have disagreements, but it is an additional to unceremoniously dump a beloved and award-profitable woman anchor. And it is strange that a senior government at a information firm would feel that the fact would not appear out, provided that, right after all, he’s surrounded by people whose task, and personal dedication, is to report the news.

And it is challenging not to suspect that this a considerably less than delighted transition for LaFlamme’s substitution, Omar Sachedina. Of class, I’m sure he’s pleased to get the work. But when Bell Media’s push release estimates Sachedina declaring swish issues about LaFlamme, undoubtedly he did not want to think the anchor chair amidst widespread criticism of the changeover. He’s using on the part under a shadow. Most likely the prize is truly worth the value, but it’s also difficult not to picture that Sachedina experienced (or now has) some pull, some ability to influence that way of the transition. I’m not stating (as some surely will) that — as an insider who appreciates the authentic tale — he ought to have declined the career as unwell-gotten gains. But at the really the very least, it looks good to argue that he must have utilised his affect to condition the transition. And if the now-senior anchor doesn’t have that variety of impact, we ought to be fearful without a doubt about the independence of that purpose, and of that newsroom.

A ultimate, similar note about authority and governance in complex corporations. In any reasonably well-governed organization, the conclusion to axe a main, general public-going through expertise like LaFlamme would call for signal-off — or at minimum tacit approval — from more than a single senior executive. This indicates that a single of two matters is legitimate. Either Bell Media is not that kind of effectively-ruled business, or a massive variety of folks were concerned in, and culpable of, unceremoniously dumping an award-winning journalist. Which is worse?

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