Lisa LaFlamme, CTV News, and Bad Executive Decisions

Former CTV countrywide 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 upcoming era, no broadcast retrospectives lionizing a journalist with a storied and award-profitable profession. As LaFlamme declared yesterday, CTV’s mum or dad enterprise, Bell Media, has resolved to unilaterally conclude her agreement. (See also the CBC’s reporting of the story below.)

While LaFlamme herself doesn’t make this declare, there was of program rapid speculation that the network’s final decision has anything to do with the point that LaFlamme is a girl of a sure age. LaFlamme is 58, which by Television set criteria is not particularly younger — besides when you assess it to the age at which popular males who proceeded her have still left their respective anchor’s chairs: think about Peter Mansbridge (who was 69), and Lloyd Robertson (who was 77).

But an even additional sinister theory is now afoot: rather than mere, shallow misogyny, proof has arisen of not just sexism, but sexism conjoined with company interference in newscasting. Two evils for the cost of a person! LaFlamme was fired, states journalist Jesse Brown, “because she pushed back in opposition to 1 Bell Media executive.” Brown studies insiders as professing that Michael Melling, vice president of information at Bell Media, has bumped heads with LaFlamme a variety of times, and has a heritage of interfering with information protection. Brown further reports that “Melling has constantly demonstrated a lack of regard for women of all ages in senior roles in the newsroom.”

Pointless to say, even if a individual grudge furthermore sexism demonstrate what’s likely on, listed here, it continue to will appear to most as a “foolish determination,” 1 positive to bring about the firm complications. Now, I make it a policy not to concern the small business savvy of skilled executives in industries I never know very well. And I advise my students not to leap to the conclusion that “that was a dumb decision” just mainly because it’s just one they really do not realize. But still, in 2022, it is tricky to consider that the firm (or Melling extra particularly) didn’t see that there would be blowback in this circumstance. It’s one point to have disagreements, but it is a different to unceremoniously dump a beloved and award-successful girl anchor. And it is strange that a senior government at a information corporation would imagine that the truth of the matter would not occur out, presented that, immediately after all, he’s surrounded by men and women whose job, and individual dedication, is to report the news.

And it is tough not to suspect that this a fewer than happy changeover for LaFlamme’s replacement, Omar Sachedina. Of system, I’m absolutely sure he’s satisfied to get the work. But while Bell Media’s push launch offers Sachedina declaring swish matters about LaFlamme, absolutely he did not want to presume the anchor chair amidst widespread criticism of the transition. He’s having on the job beneath a shadow. Potentially the prize is truly worth the rate, but it’s also tough not to envision that Sachedina experienced (or now has) some pull, some means to influence that manner of the changeover. I’m not declaring (as some absolutely will) that — as an insider who is aware of the serious story — he must have declined the career as ill-gotten gains. But at the really least, it appears reasonable to argue that he need to have used his impact to condition the transition. And if the now-senior anchor doesn’t have that form of affect, we should really be concerned without a doubt about the independence of that function, and of that newsroom.

A final, associated observe about authority and governance in complex companies. In any fairly well-ruled business, the determination to axe a big, general public-dealing with talent like LaFlamme would have to have indicator-off — or at the very least tacit approval — from additional than a single senior govt. This implies that one particular of two factors is correct. Either Bell Media is not that kind of perfectly-governed group, or a big selection of folks had been included in, and culpable of, unceremoniously dumping an award-successful journalist. Which is even worse?

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