Lisa LaFlamme, CTV News, and Bad Executive Decisions

Robert G. Mull

Previous CTV nationwide anchor
Lisa LaFlamme

There will be no bittersweet on-air goodbye for (now previous) CTV national information anchor Lisa LaFlamme, no ceremonial passing of the baton to the up coming generation, no broadcast retrospectives lionizing a journalist with a storied and award-winning profession. As LaFlamme declared yesterday, CTV’s mum or dad company, Bell Media, has resolved to unilaterally stop her deal. (See also the CBC’s reporting of the tale here.)

Though LaFlamme herself doesn’t make this assert, there was of class instant speculation that the network’s final decision has a little something to do with the actuality that LaFlamme is a lady of a specific age. LaFlamme is 58, which by Tv expectations is not particularly youthful — besides when you evaluate it to the age at which common adult men who proceeded her have left their respective anchor’s chairs: take into account Peter Mansbridge (who was 69), and Lloyd Robertson (who was 77).

But an even extra sinister concept is now afoot: fairly than mere, shallow misogyny, proof has arisen of not just sexism, but sexism conjoined with company interference in newscasting. Two evils for the price of one particular! LaFlamme was fired, states journalist Jesse Brown, “because she pushed back in opposition to just one Bell Media govt.” Brown studies insiders as proclaiming that Michael Melling, vice president of information at Bell Media, has bumped heads with LaFlamme a selection of situations, and has a history of interfering with information protection. Brown further more experiences that “Melling has constantly demonstrated a absence of regard for females in senior roles in the newsroom.”

Useless to say, even if a particular grudge moreover sexism demonstrate what is going on, listed here, it even now will feel to most as a “foolish final decision,” 1 confident to trigger the company problems. Now, I make it a policy not to issue the business savvy of experienced executives in industries I do not know properly. And I suggest my college students not to leap to the conclusion that “that was a dumb decision” just because it’s a person they don’t recognize. But nevertheless, in 2022, it’s difficult to think about that the organization (or Melling far more exclusively) did not see that there would be blowback in this case. It is 1 thing to have disagreements, but it is yet another to unceremoniously dump a beloved and award-profitable lady anchor. And it is bizarre that a senior executive at a information corporation would assume that the fact would not come out, given that, right after all, he’s surrounded by people whose position, and own motivation, is to report the news.

And it’s tricky not to suspect that this a less than content transition for LaFlamme’s substitute, Omar Sachedina. Of class, I’m absolutely sure he’s pleased to get the occupation. But whilst Bell Media’s push launch offers Sachedina declaring graceful points about LaFlamme, undoubtedly he didn’t want to presume the anchor chair amidst common criticism of the changeover. He’s getting on the role under a shadow. Possibly the prize is well worth the value, but it’s also tricky not to visualize that Sachedina had (or now has) some pull, some means to impact that way of the changeover. I’m not expressing (as some absolutely will) that — as an insider who knows the serious tale — he really should have declined the career as sick-gotten gains. But at the quite the very least, it appears to be good to argue that he ought to have employed his influence to condition the transition. And if the now-senior anchor doesn’t have that variety of influence, we must be fearful in fact about the independence of that role, and of that newsroom.

A last, associated be aware about authority and governance in complicated businesses. In any fairly perfectly-ruled business, the decision to axe a significant, public-dealing with talent like LaFlamme would need indicator-off — or at minimum tacit acceptance — from additional than one particular senior executive. This implies that 1 of two items is true. Either Bell Media isn’t that form of well-governed corporation, or a massive amount of people today were included in, and culpable of, unceremoniously dumping an award-winning journalist. Which is even worse?

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