Lisa LaFlamme, CTV News, and Bad Executive Decisions

Former CTV national anchor
Lisa LaFlamme

There will be no bittersweet on-air goodbye for (now previous) CTV national news anchor Lisa LaFlamme, no ceremonial passing of the baton to the upcoming technology, no broadcast retrospectives lionizing a journalist with a storied and award-profitable profession. As LaFlamme declared yesterday, CTV’s parent company, Bell Media, has made the decision to unilaterally conclusion her deal. (See also the CBC’s reporting of the story in this article.)

Even though LaFlamme herself doesn’t make this claim, there was of training course rapid speculation that the network’s determination has one thing to do with the point that LaFlamme is a girl of a specific age. LaFlamme is 58, which by Television expectations is not just younger — other than when you assess it to the age at which common 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 far more sinister concept is now afoot: alternatively than mere, shallow misogyny, proof has arisen of not just sexism, but sexism conjoined with company interference in newscasting. Two evils for the price tag of just one! LaFlamme was fired, states journalist Jesse Brown, “because she pushed back again towards a single Bell Media executive.” Brown stories insiders as claiming that Michael Melling, vice president of news at Bell Media, has bumped heads with LaFlamme a amount of situations, and has a historical past of interfering with news protection. Brown even more stories that “Melling has regularly shown a lack of respect for females in senior roles in the newsroom.”

Pointless to say, even if a personal grudge plus sexism clarify what’s going on, right here, it continue to will look to most as a “foolish conclusion,” one positive to trigger the corporation headaches. Now, I make it a coverage not to query the business savvy of skilled executives in industries I really do not know very well. And I advise my college students not to leap to the conclusion that “that was a dumb decision” just mainly because it is one particular they really don’t comprehend. But still, in 2022, it’s really hard to consider that the firm (or Melling extra exclusively) did not see that there would be blowback in this situation. It is just one factor to have disagreements, but it is a different to unceremoniously dump a beloved and award-profitable girl anchor. And it’s weird that a senior govt at a news corporation would feel that the reality would not appear out, provided that, just after all, he’s surrounded by persons whose job, and personalized commitment, is to report the news.

And it is difficult not to suspect that this a considerably less than satisfied changeover for LaFlamme’s substitute, Omar Sachedina. Of study course, I’m confident he’s delighted to get the work. But whilst Bell Media’s push launch prices Sachedina saying graceful items about LaFlamme, definitely he did not want to suppose the anchor chair amidst popular criticism of the transition. He’s having on the part less than a shadow. Probably the prize is well worth the price tag, but it is also hard not to visualize that Sachedina had (or now has) some pull, some skill to impact that fashion of the changeover. I’m not declaring (as some definitely will) that — as an insider who is aware of the actual tale — he should really have declined the job as ill-gotten gains. But at the really minimum, it appears to be honest to argue that he should have utilized his influence to shape the changeover. And if the now-senior anchor does not have that variety of influence, we should be nervous without a doubt about the independence of that function, and of that newsroom.

A remaining, similar note about authority and governance in sophisticated organizations. In any reasonably properly-governed business, the final decision to axe a main, general public-going through expertise like LaFlamme would call for sign-off — or at least tacit acceptance — from far more than just one senior government. This implies that 1 of two matters is true. Either Bell Media is not that variety of nicely-governed business, or a large amount of men and women were included in, and culpable of, unceremoniously dumping an award-profitable journalist. Which is even worse?

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