February 3, 2023

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Lisa LaFlamme, CTV News, and Bad Executive Decisions

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 nationwide information anchor Lisa LaFlamme, no ceremonial passing of the baton to the following technology, no broadcast retrospectives lionizing a journalist with a storied and award-profitable vocation. As LaFlamme declared yesterday, CTV’s mum or dad corporation, Bell Media, has determined to unilaterally finish her contract. (See also the CBC’s reporting of the tale right here.)

Even though LaFlamme herself does not make this claim, there was of study course instant speculation that the network’s determination has something to do with the reality that LaFlamme is a girl of a certain age. LaFlamme is 58, which by Television set specifications is not exactly young — besides when you compare it to the age at which well-liked adult men 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 additional sinister theory is now afoot: somewhat than mere, shallow misogyny, proof has arisen of not just sexism, but sexism conjoined with corporate interference in newscasting. Two evils for the value of a single! LaFlamme was fired, says journalist Jesse Brown, “because she pushed again against just one Bell Media govt.” Brown experiences insiders as boasting that Michael Melling, vice president of information at Bell Media, has bumped heads with LaFlamme a amount of instances, and has a background of interfering with news coverage. Brown even further experiences that “Melling has continuously demonstrated a absence of respect for females in senior roles in the newsroom.”

Pointless to say, even if a personalized grudge as well as sexism describe what is going on, right here, it continue to will seem to be to most as a “foolish selection,” a single guaranteed to bring about the enterprise complications. Now, I make it a policy not to dilemma the organization savvy of seasoned executives in industries I really do not know very well. And I recommend my college students not to leap to the conclusion that “that was a dumb decision” just mainly because it’s one particular they never fully grasp. But still, in 2022, it’s difficult to consider that the company (or Melling additional specifically) did not see that there would be blowback in this circumstance. It is 1 thing to have disagreements, but it’s a different to unceremoniously dump a beloved and award-profitable girl anchor. And it is weird that a senior govt at a news business would feel that the truth of the matter would not appear out, given that, right after all, he’s surrounded by people whose work, and personal dedication, is to report the information.

And it’s hard not to suspect that this a considerably less than happy changeover for LaFlamme’s replacement, Omar Sachedina. Of class, I’m guaranteed he’s delighted to get the career. But when Bell Media’s push release rates Sachedina expressing graceful matters about LaFlamme, surely he did not want to presume the anchor chair amidst prevalent criticism of the changeover. He’s having on the job less than a shadow. Perhaps the prize is truly worth the price tag, but it is also tough not to envision that Sachedina had (or now has) some pull, some capability to affect that fashion of the changeover. I’m not expressing (as some absolutely will) that — as an insider who is aware the real story — he should really have declined the job as sick-gotten gains. But at the extremely minimum, it appears to be good to argue that he should really have utilised his affect to form the changeover. And if the now-senior anchor does not have that kind of affect, we should be apprehensive certainly about the independence of that purpose, and of that newsroom.

A remaining, relevant notice about authority and governance in intricate companies. In any moderately effectively-governed organization, the conclusion to axe a major, public-facing expertise like LaFlamme would need indication-off — or at minimum tacit acceptance — from far more than just one senior executive. This indicates that one of two things is correct. Both Bell Media is not that variety of well-ruled business, or a substantial quantity of individuals were included in, and culpable of, unceremoniously dumping an award-profitable journalist. Which is even worse?