Lisa LaFlamme, CTV News, and Bad Executive Decisions

Linda J. Dodson

Former CTV countrywide 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 up coming technology, no broadcast retrospectives lionizing a journalist with a storied and award-profitable vocation. As LaFlamme announced yesterday, CTV’s guardian organization, Bell Media, has decided to unilaterally conclusion her agreement. (See also the CBC’s reporting of the story here.)

When LaFlamme herself does not make this declare, there was of course quick speculation that the network’s final decision has anything to do with the fact that LaFlamme is a woman of a selected age. LaFlamme is 58, which by Television set benchmarks is not precisely younger — besides when you compare it to the age at which well known men who proceeded her have left their respective anchor’s chairs: take into consideration Peter Mansbridge (who was 69), and Lloyd Robertson (who was 77).

But an even much more sinister concept is now afoot: somewhat than mere, shallow misogyny, proof has arisen of not just sexism, but sexism conjoined with corporate interference in newscasting. Two evils for the cost of just one! LaFlamme was fired, says journalist Jesse Brown, “because she pushed again from a person Bell Media executive.” Brown reviews insiders as saying that Michael Melling, vice president of news at Bell Media, has bumped heads with LaFlamme a range of moments, and has a historical past of interfering with information protection. Brown even further stories that “Melling has constantly shown a absence of respect for gals in senior roles in the newsroom.”

Unnecessary to say, even if a personal grudge additionally sexism demonstrate what’s going on, listed here, it continue to will appear to be to most as a “foolish determination,” one particular sure to result in the firm headaches. Now, I make it a plan not to concern the small business savvy of skilled executives in industries I never know perfectly. And I advise my learners not to leap to the summary that “that was a dumb decision” just mainly because it’s 1 they do not understand. But even now, in 2022, it’s tricky to picture that the firm (or Melling far more specially) didn’t see that there would be blowback in this case. It’s a person point to have disagreements, but it’s a different to unceremoniously dump a beloved and award-successful female anchor. And it is weird that a senior government at a news group would think that the real truth would not appear out, supplied that, right after all, he’s surrounded by people whose job, and own dedication, is to report the news.

And it is hard not to suspect that this a fewer than delighted changeover for LaFlamme’s substitution, Omar Sachedina. Of course, I’m absolutely sure he’s pleased to get the position. But although Bell Media’s press launch offers Sachedina declaring graceful points about LaFlamme, absolutely he didn’t want to suppose the anchor chair amidst popular criticism of the changeover. He’s having on the part below a shadow. Potentially the prize is worth the cost, but it is also tough not to envision that Sachedina had (or now has) some pull, some potential to affect that fashion of the changeover. I’m not declaring (as some absolutely will) that — as an insider who appreciates the genuine story — he ought to have declined the job as sick-gotten gains. But at the very least, it appears to be fair to argue that he ought to have utilised his affect to form the changeover. And if the now-senior anchor doesn’t have that sort of affect, we need to be apprehensive certainly about the independence of that part, and of that newsroom.

A final, relevant observe about authority and governance in complicated organizations. In any fairly properly-governed corporation, the selection to axe a key, community-going through expertise like LaFlamme would have to have indicator-off — or at minimum tacit acceptance — from a lot more than a single senior govt. This suggests that one of two factors is true. Possibly Bell Media isn’t that form of very well-governed group, or a huge quantity of people today were being involved in, and culpable of, unceremoniously dumping an award-successful journalist. Which is even worse?

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