Lisa LaFlamme, CTV News, and Bad Executive Decisions

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Former CTV national anchor
Lisa LaFlamme

There will be no bittersweet on-air goodbye for (now former) CTV national information anchor Lisa LaFlamme, no ceremonial passing of the baton to the up coming era, no broadcast retrospectives lionizing a journalist with a storied and award-winning profession. As LaFlamme announced yesterday, CTV’s guardian company, Bell Media, has decided to unilaterally end her agreement. (See also the CBC’s reporting of the story listed here.)

Although LaFlamme herself doesn’t make this declare, there was of study course fast speculation that the network’s determination has a little something to do with the point that LaFlamme is a girl of a specified age. LaFlamme is 58, which by Television benchmarks is not precisely youthful — except when you review it to the age at which well-known adult men who proceeded her have remaining their respective anchor’s chairs: take into account Peter Mansbridge (who was 69), and Lloyd Robertson (who was 77).

But an even additional sinister principle is now afoot: rather than mere, shallow misogyny, evidence has arisen of not just sexism, but sexism conjoined with company interference in newscasting. Two evils for the price tag of a single! LaFlamme was fired, says journalist Jesse Brown, “because she pushed again versus one Bell Media executive.” Brown reports insiders as professing that Michael Melling, vice president of information at Bell Media, has bumped heads with LaFlamme a quantity of occasions, and has a history of interfering with information protection. Brown even further reports that “Melling has consistently shown a absence of regard for females in senior roles in the newsroom.”

Useless to say, even if a own grudge as well as sexism make clear what is going on, in this article, it continue to will seem to most as a “foolish final decision,” one guaranteed to result in the enterprise head aches. Now, I make it a coverage not to dilemma the small business savvy of knowledgeable executives in industries I do not know perfectly. And I advise my students not to leap to the summary that “that was a dumb decision” just mainly because it is one they do not realize. But even now, in 2022, it is hard to think about that the firm (or Melling much more specifically) did not see that there would be blowback in this circumstance. It’s a single factor to have disagreements, but it’s yet another to unceremoniously dump a beloved and award-winning woman anchor. And it’s bizarre that a senior government at a information business would consider that the real truth would not come out, supplied that, soon after all, he’s surrounded by folks whose career, and personal dedication, is to report the news.

And it’s tough not to suspect that this a a lot less than delighted changeover for LaFlamme’s substitution, Omar Sachedina. Of course, I’m positive he’s content to get the position. But whilst Bell Media’s press release rates Sachedina expressing sleek things about LaFlamme, definitely he did not want to presume the anchor chair amidst popular criticism of the changeover. He’s taking on the function under a shadow. Potentially the prize is value the selling price, but it is also really hard not to visualize that Sachedina experienced (or now has) some pull, some potential to influence that manner of the transition. I’m not saying (as some definitely will) that — as an insider who is familiar with the genuine story — he should have declined the occupation as unwell-gotten gains. But at the pretty the very least, it appears honest to argue that he should really have used his impact to condition the transition. And if the now-senior anchor doesn’t have that form of affect, we should really be worried in fact about the independence of that job, and of that newsroom.

A last, connected observe about authority and governance in intricate businesses. In any moderately very well-governed business, the choice to axe a key, public-experiencing talent like LaFlamme would involve indicator-off — or at minimum tacit acceptance — from far more than a person senior govt. This suggests that one particular of two issues is correct. Possibly Bell Media is not that sort of effectively-ruled group, or a large number of people today were being included in, and culpable of, unceremoniously dumping an award-winning journalist. Which is even worse?