December 1, 2022

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Lisa LaFlamme, CTV News, and Bad Executive Decisions

Former CTV countrywide anchor
Lisa LaFlamme

There will be no bittersweet on-air goodbye for (now former) CTV nationwide information anchor Lisa LaFlamme, no ceremonial passing of the baton to the future generation, no broadcast retrospectives lionizing a journalist with a storied and award-profitable career. As LaFlamme declared yesterday, CTV’s father or mother business, Bell Media, has resolved to unilaterally end her contract. (See also the CBC’s reporting of the tale right here.)

Although LaFlamme herself doesn’t make this declare, there was of program instant speculation that the network’s determination has some thing to do with the truth that LaFlamme is a woman of a particular age. LaFlamme is 58, which by Tv set criteria is not just younger — other than when you review it to the age at which well-liked males 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 concept is now afoot: relatively 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 just one! LaFlamme was fired, claims journalist Jesse Brown, “because she pushed back again versus 1 Bell Media government.” Brown reports insiders as declaring that Michael Melling, vice president of news at Bell Media, has bumped heads with LaFlamme a variety of situations, and has a record of interfering with news coverage. Brown further stories that “Melling has regularly shown a lack of respect for ladies in senior roles in the newsroom.”

Useless to say, even if a personal grudge in addition sexism reveal what’s heading on, in this article, it continue to will feel to most as a “foolish selection,” a person guaranteed to lead to the organization head aches. Now, I make it a coverage not to concern the business savvy of seasoned executives in industries I really don’t know well. And I advise my learners not to leap to the summary that “that was a dumb decision” just since it is a person they never understand. But continue to, in 2022, it is really hard to consider that the business (or Melling extra specifically) did not see that there would be blowback in this case. It is just one matter to have disagreements, but it’s a different to unceremoniously dump a beloved and award-successful woman anchor. And it’s weird that a senior executive at a information corporation would assume that the reality would not arrive out, provided that, following all, he’s surrounded by persons whose job, and private commitment, is to report the news.

And it’s challenging not to suspect that this a considerably less than content changeover for LaFlamme’s replacement, Omar Sachedina. Of class, I’m confident he’s joyful to get the task. But although Bell Media’s press release prices Sachedina indicating swish issues about LaFlamme, undoubtedly he did not want to suppose the anchor chair amidst prevalent criticism of the transition. He’s having on the function less than a shadow. Probably the prize is well worth the rate, but it’s also hard not to consider that Sachedina experienced (or now has) some pull, some potential to influence that manner of the changeover. I’m not stating (as some undoubtedly will) that — as an insider who knows the actual tale — he must have declined the job as unwell-gotten gains. But at the incredibly the very least, it seems fair to argue that he should have applied his impact to shape the changeover. And if the now-senior anchor doesn’t have that variety of impact, we must be worried in fact about the independence of that position, and of that newsroom.

A final, connected observe about authority and governance in complex corporations. In any moderately effectively-governed corporation, the conclusion to axe a key, public-dealing with expertise like LaFlamme would involve indicator-off — or at least tacit approval — from more than 1 senior executive. This indicates that just one of two factors is genuine. Either Bell Media is not that sort of well-governed business, or a substantial quantity of individuals were concerned in, and culpable of, unceremoniously dumping an award-profitable journalist. Which is even worse?