December 5, 2022

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Lisa LaFlamme, CTV News, and Bad Executive Decisions

Previous CTV nationwide 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 upcoming technology, no broadcast retrospectives lionizing a journalist with a storied and award-successful career. As LaFlamme announced yesterday, CTV’s parent business, Bell Media, has made a decision to unilaterally stop her agreement. (See also the CBC’s reporting of the tale right here.)

When LaFlamme herself doesn’t make this claim, there was of program speedy speculation that the network’s conclusion has a thing to do with the point that LaFlamme is a woman of a certain age. LaFlamme is 58, which by Television standards is not specifically younger — apart from when you look at it to the age at which well-known adult men who proceeded her have still left their respective anchor’s chairs: contemplate Peter Mansbridge (who was 69), and Lloyd Robertson (who was 77).

But an even more sinister theory is now afoot: instead than mere, shallow misogyny, evidence has arisen of not just sexism, but sexism conjoined with corporate interference in newscasting. Two evils for the price tag of one! LaFlamme was fired, suggests journalist Jesse Brown, “because she pushed back against a person Bell Media govt.” Brown studies insiders as saying that Michael Melling, vice president of news at Bell Media, has bumped heads with LaFlamme a quantity of instances, and has a heritage of interfering with information protection. Brown more stories that “Melling has constantly demonstrated a absence of respect for ladies in senior roles in the newsroom.”

Pointless to say, even if a private grudge as well as sexism demonstrate what is going on, in this article, it continue to will seem to be to most as a “foolish decision,” 1 certain to bring about the business headaches. Now, I make it a coverage not to query the enterprise savvy of experienced executives in industries I don’t know well. And I suggest my students not to leap to the summary that “that was a dumb decision” just for the reason that it is one they really don’t comprehend. But even now, in 2022, it is tricky to visualize that the corporation (or Melling a lot more specially) did not see that there would be blowback in this situation. It is just one point to have disagreements, but it is one more to unceremoniously dump a beloved and award-winning lady anchor. And it is bizarre that a senior govt at a information corporation would consider that the truth would not appear out, supplied that, after all, he’s surrounded by folks whose task, and personal motivation, is to report the news.

And it is tough not to suspect that this a much less than happy changeover for LaFlamme’s replacement, Omar Sachedina. Of course, I’m absolutely sure he’s happy to get the occupation. But when Bell Media’s press launch prices Sachedina expressing swish factors about LaFlamme, certainly he didn’t want to believe the anchor chair amidst popular criticism of the transition. He’s getting on the job below a shadow. Probably the prize is really worth the price tag, but it’s also hard not to picture that Sachedina had (or now has) some pull, some skill to affect that fashion of the changeover. I’m not indicating (as some definitely will) that — as an insider who understands the actual story — he ought to have declined the career as sick-gotten gains. But at the very least, it would seem fair to argue that he should have used his affect to condition the transition. And if the now-senior anchor does not have that kind of impact, we should be concerned in fact about the independence of that purpose, and of that newsroom.

A last, connected take note about authority and governance in complicated organizations. In any fairly nicely-ruled corporation, the conclusion to axe a main, general public-dealing with talent like LaFlamme would call for sign-off — or at least tacit acceptance — from more than 1 senior government. This implies that one particular of two factors is true. Either Bell Media is not that variety of effectively-governed group, or a large range of folks ended up associated in, and culpable of, unceremoniously dumping an award-winning journalist. Which is even worse?