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 nationwide news anchor Lisa LaFlamme, no ceremonial passing of the baton to the next technology, no broadcast retrospectives lionizing a journalist with a storied and award-profitable occupation. As LaFlamme announced yesterday, CTV’s dad or mum organization, Bell Media, has made a decision to unilaterally close her contract. (See also the CBC’s reporting of the tale below.)

Although LaFlamme herself doesn’t make this assert, there was of program rapid speculation that the network’s conclusion has one thing to do with the reality that LaFlamme is a female of a sure age. LaFlamme is 58, which by Television set expectations is not particularly younger — besides when you examine it to the age at which common guys who proceeded her have still left their respective anchor’s chairs: consider Peter Mansbridge (who was 69), and Lloyd Robertson (who was 77).

But an even far more sinister theory is now afoot: fairly 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 one! LaFlamme was fired, suggests journalist Jesse Brown, “because she pushed back versus one particular Bell Media government.” Brown stories insiders as proclaiming that Michael Melling, vice president of information at Bell Media, has bumped heads with LaFlamme a quantity of situations, and has a historical past of interfering with information coverage. Brown further studies that “Melling has persistently demonstrated a lack of respect for girls in senior roles in the newsroom.”

Needless to say, even if a individual grudge in addition sexism reveal what’s likely on, right here, it even now will appear to be to most as a “foolish determination,” 1 certain to cause the company complications. Now, I make it a plan not to query the organization savvy of expert executives in industries I really do not know well. And I advise my college students not to leap to the summary that “that was a dumb decision” just mainly because it’s 1 they never understand. But continue to, in 2022, it is challenging to imagine that the company (or Melling more specially) did not see that there would be blowback in this scenario. It is one factor to have disagreements, but it is one more to unceremoniously dump a beloved and award-winning girl anchor. And it’s strange that a senior executive at a news corporation would believe that the reality would not occur out, provided that, just after all, he’s surrounded by folks whose occupation, and individual determination, is to report the news.

And it’s really hard not to suspect that this a fewer than delighted transition for LaFlamme’s alternative, Omar Sachedina. Of system, I’m confident he’s content to get the career. But while Bell Media’s push release quotations Sachedina expressing swish matters about LaFlamme, surely he didn’t want to think the anchor chair amidst common criticism of the transition. He’s having on the job below a shadow. Perhaps the prize is really worth the cost, but it is also challenging not to visualize that Sachedina experienced (or now has) some pull, some skill to affect that manner of the transition. I’m not saying (as some certainly will) that — as an insider who understands the serious tale — he should have declined the work as unwell-gotten gains. But at the incredibly minimum, it looks truthful to argue that he really should have employed his impact to form the transition. And if the now-senior anchor does not have that kind of impact, we should really be concerned in truth about the independence of that job, and of that newsroom.

A final, relevant observe about authority and governance in sophisticated organizations. In any moderately nicely-ruled corporation, the final decision to axe a key, community-dealing with talent like LaFlamme would have to have signal-off — or at minimum tacit approval — from far more than one particular senior executive. This suggests that a person of two factors is real. Either Bell Media is not that kind of well-ruled business, or a large variety of folks had been involved in, and culpable of, unceremoniously dumping an award-successful journalist. Which is even worse?

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