Lisa LaFlamme, CTV News, and Bad Executive Decisions

Former CTV national anchor
Lisa LaFlamme

There will be no bittersweet on-air goodbye for (now former) CTV countrywide news 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-successful occupation. As LaFlamme declared yesterday, CTV’s mum or dad enterprise, Bell Media, has resolved to unilaterally conclusion her agreement. (See also the CBC’s reporting of the tale listed here.)

When LaFlamme herself doesn’t make this assert, there was of study course speedy speculation that the network’s selection has some thing to do with the simple fact that LaFlamme is a woman of a selected age. LaFlamme is 58, which by Television expectations is not precisely younger — apart from when you assess it to the age at which well-known adult men who proceeded her have left their respective anchor’s chairs: think about Peter Mansbridge (who was 69), and Lloyd Robertson (who was 77).

But an even much more sinister idea is now afoot: alternatively than mere, shallow misogyny, evidence has arisen of not just sexism, but sexism conjoined with corporate interference in newscasting. Two evils for the price of 1! LaFlamme was fired, states journalist Jesse Brown, “because she pushed back again in opposition to one Bell Media executive.” Brown reports insiders as proclaiming that Michael Melling, vice president of news at Bell Media, has bumped heads with LaFlamme a selection of moments, and has a heritage of interfering with news protection. Brown even further reviews that “Melling has regularly shown a absence of regard for women of all ages in senior roles in the newsroom.”

Needless to say, even if a own grudge in addition sexism describe what’s likely on, here, it however will feel to most as a “foolish final decision,” one absolutely sure to lead to the corporation headaches. Now, I make it a coverage not to issue the small business savvy of knowledgeable executives in industries I don’t know nicely. And I suggest my students not to leap to the conclusion that “that was a dumb decision” just because it’s one they do not comprehend. But nevertheless, in 2022, it is difficult to consider that the corporation (or Melling a lot more particularly) did not see that there would be blowback in this scenario. It is 1 issue to have disagreements, but it is yet another to unceremoniously dump a beloved and award-successful girl anchor. And it is strange that a senior govt at a news group would imagine that the truth would not occur out, given that, just after all, he’s surrounded by persons whose career, and own motivation, is to report the news.

And it is difficult not to suspect that this a considerably less than satisfied changeover for LaFlamme’s alternative, Omar Sachedina. Of program, I’m guaranteed he’s delighted to get the task. But when Bell Media’s push release quotes Sachedina saying graceful items about LaFlamme, surely he didn’t want to presume the anchor chair amidst widespread criticism of the changeover. He’s taking on the purpose underneath a shadow. Perhaps the prize is really worth the price tag, but it’s also hard not to picture that Sachedina experienced (or now has) some pull, some capability to influence that manner of the changeover. I’m not expressing (as some definitely will) that — as an insider who appreciates the genuine story — he should have declined the position as sick-gotten gains. But at the pretty minimum, it appears to be honest to argue that he really should have made use of his impact to form the transition. And if the now-senior anchor does not have that type of impact, we really should be fearful without a doubt about the independence of that role, and of that newsroom.

A ultimate, related notice about authority and governance in advanced companies. In any moderately properly-ruled firm, the final decision to axe a major, community-struggling with expertise like LaFlamme would have to have sign-off — or at minimum tacit approval — from extra than just one senior executive. This indicates that 1 of two things is genuine. Both Bell Media is not that kind of well-ruled organization, or a big range of persons had been associated in, and culpable of, unceremoniously dumping an award-profitable journalist. Which is even worse?

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