Former CTV national anchor
Lisa LaFlamme

There will be no bittersweet on-air goodbye for (now former) CTV national news 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-successful job. As LaFlamme announced yesterday, CTV’s father or mother firm, Bell Media, has made the decision to unilaterally finish her agreement. (See also the CBC’s reporting of the story in this article.)

Though LaFlamme herself does not make this claim, there was of study course fast speculation that the network’s selection has some thing to do with the simple fact that LaFlamme is a girl of a selected age. LaFlamme is 58, which by Television requirements is not particularly young — except when you look at it to the age at which well-known 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 a lot more sinister concept is now afoot: somewhat than mere, shallow misogyny, evidence has arisen of not just sexism, but sexism conjoined with company interference in newscasting. Two evils for the value of just one! LaFlamme was fired, says journalist Jesse Brown, “because she pushed again towards a person Bell Media government.” Brown experiences insiders as proclaiming that Michael Melling, vice president of news at Bell Media, has bumped heads with LaFlamme a number of instances, and has a background of interfering with news coverage. Brown more studies that “Melling has continuously shown a lack of respect for gals in senior roles in the newsroom.”

Pointless to say, even if a private grudge moreover sexism reveal what’s likely on, here, it however will appear to be to most as a “foolish determination,” one guaranteed to cause the company problems. Now, I make it a policy not to dilemma the business savvy of professional executives in industries I really don’t know perfectly. And I recommend my learners not to leap to the conclusion that “that was a dumb decision” just since it’s a single they really don’t understand. But continue to, in 2022, it is hard to think about that the company (or Melling much more precisely) did not see that there would be blowback in this situation. It is a person matter to have disagreements, but it’s a different to unceremoniously dump a beloved and award-winning woman anchor. And it is strange that a senior government at a information organization would consider that the fact would not appear out, offered that, after all, he’s surrounded by men and women whose work, and own determination, is to report the news.

And it’s difficult not to suspect that this a much less than content transition for LaFlamme’s replacement, Omar Sachedina. Of study course, I’m guaranteed he’s delighted to get the work. But whilst Bell Media’s press launch offers Sachedina stating swish items about LaFlamme, definitely he did not want to suppose the anchor chair amidst widespread criticism of the changeover. He’s taking on the job underneath a shadow. Probably the prize is well worth the rate, but it’s also challenging not to envision that Sachedina had (or now has) some pull, some ability to influence that method of the transition. I’m not saying (as some absolutely will) that — as an insider who appreciates the real tale — he ought to have declined the work as unwell-gotten gains. But at the very the very least, it appears to be honest to argue that he should really have used his impact to form the changeover. And if the now-senior anchor doesn’t have that kind of impact, we should be anxious indeed about the independence of that job, and of that newsroom.

A remaining, similar note about authority and governance in complex companies. In any moderately effectively-governed organization, the choice to axe a main, community-dealing with talent like LaFlamme would involve indication-off — or at least tacit approval — from extra than a single senior executive. This suggests that just one of two items is genuine. Either Bell Media isn’t that sort of well-governed firm, or a large amount of men and women had been included in, and culpable of, unceremoniously dumping an award-successful journalist. Which is even worse?

Leave a Reply