Lisa LaFlamme, CTV News, and Bad Executive Decisions

Melissa M. Taylor

Former CTV national anchor
Lisa LaFlamme

There will be no bittersweet on-air goodbye for (now previous) CTV countrywide 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 job. As LaFlamme declared yesterday, CTV’s guardian firm, Bell Media, has decided to unilaterally stop her agreement. (See also the CBC’s reporting of the tale right here.)

Even though LaFlamme herself does not make this assert, there was of course immediate speculation that the network’s selection has something to do with the point that LaFlamme is a lady of a sure age. LaFlamme is 58, which by Tv specifications is not accurately youthful — other than when you evaluate it to the age at which well-liked 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 much more sinister concept is now afoot: instead 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 one! LaFlamme was fired, says journalist Jesse Brown, “because she pushed again against just one Bell Media govt.” Brown reviews insiders as declaring that Michael Melling, vice president of news at Bell Media, has bumped heads with LaFlamme a number of times, and has a history of interfering with news coverage. Brown more studies that “Melling has persistently shown a lack of regard for women of all ages in senior roles in the newsroom.”

Unnecessary to say, even if a individual grudge moreover sexism make clear what is likely on, in this article, it nonetheless will seem to most as a “foolish selection,” just one confident to lead to the company problems. Now, I make it a coverage not to dilemma the organization savvy of expert executives in industries I don’t know nicely. And I recommend my college students not to leap to the summary that “that was a dumb decision” just because it’s one they never have an understanding of. But continue to, in 2022, it is tough to picture that the company (or Melling much more especially) didn’t see that there would be blowback in this scenario. It’s a single detail to have disagreements, but it’s another to unceremoniously dump a beloved and award-winning lady anchor. And it is strange that a senior executive at a news firm would imagine that the real truth would not come out, provided that, just after all, he’s surrounded by people today whose career, and individual dedication, is to report the information.

And it is tricky not to suspect that this a a lot less than pleased transition for LaFlamme’s replacement, Omar Sachedina. Of study course, I’m positive he’s pleased to get the task. But whilst Bell Media’s push release quotations Sachedina saying sleek items about LaFlamme, certainly he didn’t want to think the anchor chair amidst prevalent criticism of the changeover. He’s getting on the part beneath a shadow. Probably the prize is value the price, but it is also really hard not to envision that Sachedina experienced (or now has) some pull, some skill to impact that fashion of the transition. I’m not saying (as some definitely will) that — as an insider who appreciates the genuine tale — he must have declined the job as sick-gotten gains. But at the very least, it looks fair to argue that he must have utilized his influence to form the transition. And if the now-senior anchor does not have that type of affect, we ought to be apprehensive indeed about the independence of that part, and of that newsroom.

A closing, similar take note about authority and governance in elaborate businesses. In any reasonably nicely-ruled business, the final decision to axe a big, public-struggling with expertise like LaFlamme would call for signal-off — or at least tacit approval — from a lot more than a person senior govt. This implies that a person of two factors is accurate. Possibly Bell Media isn’t that kind of perfectly-ruled firm, or a large variety of persons ended up associated in, and culpable of, unceremoniously dumping an award-profitable journalist. Which is even worse?

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