Lisa LaFlamme, CTV News, and Bad Executive Decisions

Previous CTV national anchor
Lisa LaFlamme

There will be no bittersweet on-air goodbye for (now previous) CTV countrywide news anchor Lisa LaFlamme, no ceremonial passing of the baton to the subsequent era, no broadcast retrospectives lionizing a journalist with a storied and award-successful job. As LaFlamme announced yesterday, CTV’s father or mother business, Bell Media, has resolved to unilaterally end her agreement. (See also the CBC’s reporting of the story below.)

Though LaFlamme herself doesn’t make this claim, there was of course rapid speculation that the network’s determination has some thing to do with the reality that LaFlamme is a lady of a particular age. LaFlamme is 58, which by Tv standards is not exactly youthful — besides when you look at it to the age at which well known adult males who proceeded her have still left their respective anchor’s chairs: take into account Peter Mansbridge (who was 69), and Lloyd Robertson (who was 77).

But an even far 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 value of 1! LaFlamme was fired, claims journalist Jesse Brown, “because she pushed back again versus one Bell Media govt.” Brown experiences insiders as saying that Michael Melling, vice president of news at Bell Media, has bumped heads with LaFlamme a amount of situations, and has a background of interfering with news coverage. Brown additional studies that “Melling has regularly shown a absence of respect for girls in senior roles in the newsroom.”

Unnecessary to say, even if a individual grudge in addition sexism demonstrate what’s going on, listed here, it even now will seem to most as a “foolish decision,” just one guaranteed to bring about the corporation problems. Now, I make it a coverage not to question the business enterprise savvy of professional executives in industries I don’t know effectively. And I recommend my pupils not to leap to the summary that “that was a dumb decision” just for the reason that it is a person they really do not realize. But however, in 2022, it’s really hard to visualize that the corporation (or Melling more precisely) didn’t see that there would be blowback in this situation. It’s just one thing to have disagreements, but it is one more to unceremoniously dump a beloved and award-winning lady anchor. And it is strange that a senior government at a information business would believe that the truth of the matter would not appear out, presented that, just after all, he’s surrounded by men and women whose occupation, and private determination, is to report the information.

And it’s hard not to suspect that this a much less than joyful transition for LaFlamme’s replacement, Omar Sachedina. Of course, I’m guaranteed he’s delighted to get the career. But while Bell Media’s press release quotes Sachedina expressing sleek items about LaFlamme, certainly he did not want to believe the anchor chair amidst popular criticism of the transition. He’s getting on the job under a shadow. Perhaps the prize is worthy of the cost, but it is also tough not to visualize that Sachedina had (or now has) some pull, some capacity to influence that way of the transition. I’m not saying (as some absolutely will) that — as an insider who is familiar with the actual story — he should really have declined the task as ill-gotten gains. But at the quite minimum, it looks fair to argue that he ought to have made use of his affect to form the changeover. And if the now-senior anchor does not have that type of influence, we really should be concerned indeed about the independence of that job, and of that newsroom.

A last, related note about authority and governance in complicated organizations. In any reasonably well-ruled group, the determination to axe a main, general public-going through talent like LaFlamme would need signal-off — or at the very least tacit acceptance — from far more than one particular senior govt. This suggests that a single of two issues is genuine. Either Bell Media is not that kind of very well-ruled business, or a large amount of folks ended up associated in, and culpable of, unceremoniously dumping an award-successful journalist. Which is worse?

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