News anchor Lisa LaFlamme 'shocked' after CTV replaces her with Omar Sachedina

spaminator

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News anchor Lisa LaFlamme 'shocked' after CTV replaces her with Omar Sachedina
'At 58, I thought I would have more time to tell more of the stories that impact our daily lives as I have done for so many decades'

Author of the article:Jessica Mundie
Publishing date:Aug 15, 2022 • 11 hours ago • 4 minute read • 14 Comments

Longtime news anchor Lisa LaFlamme said she is “shocked and saddened” by Bell Media’s decision to end her contract with CTV National News.


In a press release issued by CTV News, the company said this decision was made in recognition of “changing viewer habits” and the desire to move the news show and the role of chief news anchor in a “different direction.”

A following statement by CTV News announced that Omar Sachedina, the current national affairs correspondent for the network, would take LaFlamme’s position.

LaFlamme had been with CTV News for 35 years, working as the international affairs correspondent before replacing Lloyd Robertson as the chief news anchor and senior editor of CTV National News in 2011.

In a statement, LaFlamme said she was informed her contract would come to an end on June 29. She said she was asked to keep this information confidential until the “specifics of (her) exit could be resolved.”

“Whether it is reporting from the field or, for the last 12 years, from the anchor desk, I am forever grateful to you, such loyal viewers, for sharing in the belief that news delivered with integrity and truth strengthens our democracy,” said LaFlamme.

“At 58, I thought I would have more time to tell more of the stories that impact our daily lives as I have done for so many decades.”



In the CTV Statement, Sachedina said he is “honoured to follow exemplary journalists, such as Lisa LaFlamme and Lloyd Robertson, who have had the privilege of anchoring this newscast and established it as a go-to source for current events.”

Other veteran Canadian journalists reacted to the news on Twitter.

“My jaw is on the floor,” tweeted David Cochrane, a senior parliamentary reporter for CBC News, in response to a video statement LaFlamme posted to the social media site.

“You have always been the best of field colleagues. And such a hardworking passionate human and we have all benefited from your rigour and dedication,” tweeted Adrienne Arsenault, chief correspondent and co-anchor of The National for CBC News. “I am really really sorry to hear this.”


Karine Moses, senior vice president of content development and news at Bell Media said in a statement, “With an unfailing commitment to delivering the stories that matter most to Canadians as part of Canada’s leading news team, Lisa has deftly guided viewers through both turbulent times and celebration, and we wish her nothing but the best as she begins a new chapter.”

Lisa LaFlamme’s full statement
Today, with profound gratitude and a range of other emotions, I am sharing with you some news about me and my career with CTV News. For 35 years, I have had the privilege of being welcomed into your homes to deliver the news on a nightly basis, so I felt you should hear this from me directly.

On June 29th, I was informed that Bell Media made a “business decision” to end my contract, bringing to a close my long career with CTV News.


35 years of service – of journalism – of work that I have dedicated my life to – over.

I was, and still am, shocked and saddened by Bell Media’s decision. I was also asked to keep this confidential from my colleagues and the public until the specifics of my exit could be resolved. That has now happened, so please allow me to reflect on the last 35 years.

Reporting on the darkest days of war – from Iraq, Afghanistan and this year, Ukraine – to covering natural disasters, this pandemic, federal elections and so many other consequential events, including this summer’s papal apology tour to residential school survivors and their families, is a trust I have never taken for granted.
Whether it is reporting from the field or, for the last 12 years, from the anchor desk, I am forever grateful to you, such loyal viewers, for sharing in the belief that news delivered with integrity and truth strengthens our democracy.


At 58, I thought I would have more time to tell more of the stories that impact our daily lives as I have done for so many decades.

I leave humbled by the people who put their faith in me to tell their story.

As I sign off from CTV, I want to express my deepest gratitude to all of you who call Canada home who have shared in this journey with me, and for the unwavering support of colleagues, friends and family.

While it is crushing to be leaving CTV National News and a team that is more like family in a manner that is not my choice, please know these last 35 years of bringing to you every major national and international event has been the greatest honour of my life.
 

spaminator

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Lisa LaFlamme 'blindsided' after being dumped by CTV National News for Omar Sachedina
'I guess this is my sign off from CTV'

Author of the article:Mark Daniell
Publishing date:Aug 15, 2022 • 5 hours ago • 3 minute read • 156 Comments

Lisa LaFlamme says she was “blindsided” by CTV’s “crushing” decision to replace her as the lead anchor on CTV National News.

The network made the announcement Monday afternoon with a release stating that Omar Sachedina has been named Chief News Anchor and Senior Editor of CTV National News, effective Monday, Sept. 5.

In a Twitter post, LaFlamme, 58, said she was informed June 29 that her contract was not going to be renewed and it was a “business decision.”

“I was blindsided and I’m still shocked and saddened by Bell Media’s decision,” LaFlamme said. “I was also asked to keep this confidential from my colleagues and the public until the specifics of my exit could be resolved.”



In a press release, Bell Media said it was “recognizing changing viewer habits” as it moved “the role of its Chief News Anchor in a different direction.”

“I am honoured to follow exemplary journalists, such as Lisa LaFlamme and Lloyd Robertson, who have had the privilege of anchoring this newscast and established it as a go-to source for current events. And I am excited to work with our outstanding and dedicated team in this new capacity,” 39-year-old Sachedina said. “The daily connections we make with Canadians over the past six decades are built on a foundation of trusted journalism, fairness, balance and integrity. I look forward to upholding this, and continue delivering news that Canadians rely on.”

“As a veteran journalist who brings years of experience to his new role as anchor, Omar Sachedina is the ideal choice to lead the coverage being delivered by CTV National News each and every day across a variety of platforms,” said Karine Moses, Senior Vice-President, Content Development & News, Bell Media and Vice Chair, Quebec, Bell. “For more than a decade, he has played a key role in keeping Canadians informed of breaking news unfolding across Canada and around the world. Omar is a skilled anchor who connects with our viewers, and with him at the helm, we’re excited to maintain the status of CTV National News as Canada’s most-watched national newscast.”


In her video, LaFlamme, who began her career in 1989 in Kitchener, Ont. said the job has meant “everything” to her.

“Reporting on the darkest days of war — from Iraq, Afghanistan and this year, Ukraine — to covering natural disasters, this pandemic, federal elections and so many other consequential events, including this summer’s papal apology tour to residential school survivors and their families, is a trust I have never taken for granted,” she said. “I am forever grateful to you — such loyal viewers — for sharing in the belief that news delivered with integrity and truth strengthens our democracy.

“At 58, I still thought I’d have a lot more time to tell more of the stories that impact our daily lives. Instead I leave CTV humbled by the people who put their faith in me to tell their story. I guess this is my sign off from CTV.”


LaFlamme went on to add that her leaving is “not my choice,” but expressed her thanks to viewers, her colleagues and her family.

“Please know, reporting to you has been the greatest honour of my life and I thank you for always being there,” she concluded.

LaFlamme had been the Chief News Anchor of CTV National News since 2011, after taking over from Lloyd Robertson, who retired at age 77. She was named Best National News Anchor five times by the Canadian Screen Awards.

In 2019, LaFlamme was also named Officer of the Order of Canada.

On social media, LaFlamme’s departure was met with a mixture of anger and sadness.

“This is a shocker,” Global National’s Dawna Friesen tweeted. “None of us last in these gigs forever, but seems to me you deserve better than this.”

Former TSN personality Dan O’Toole added, “Just brutal. Lisa, we should talk!”

Musician Jann Arden also shared her support, calling LaFlamme’s broadcasts, “incredibly comforting.”

“Make no mistake. You are the best,” Juno winner Anne Murray tweeted. “Your response to this thing is class personified. You have my utmost respect and admiration. You will ‘rise above.'”

mdaniell@postmedia.com
 

The_Foxer

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Well in fairness while there's something to be said about 'comforting familiarity' she was getting a little stale. And i often found her obligatory trite little stupid comment after each story annoying. Reporter - "10 starve to death in cave collapse!" Her- "most troubling. Ok, next story... " Reporter - "Huge cracks have appeared in the earth's surface and giant rocks are falling from the sky!" Her - "Certainly cause for concern. Ok next story... "

We'll see if this guy represents an actual change in their style or if he's just meant to be something 'fresh'.
 

IdRatherBeSkiing

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Either she is too old for the audience CTV wants or not woke enough.
CTV does not want and old woman delivering the news. It re-enforces the perception (and I believe correct one) that the news is just a show. The time where the anchor was trusted and experienced are long gone. They are talking heads reading the teleprompter now. They should be able to make one with CGI in a couple years. That one will never age. Maybe they can make it a Lloyd Robertson likeness.
 
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spaminator

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CTV does not want and old woman delivering the news. It re-enforces the perception (and I believe correct one) that the news is just a show. The time where the anchor was trusted and experienced are long gone. They are talking heads reading the teleprompter now. They should be able to make one with CGI in a couple years. That one will never age. Maybe they can make it a Lloyd Robertson likeness.
I shall personally fight to the death to try to get Max Headroom in. "now - here's the n.n.n,news. news."
if they choose dua i would be jerking off to the news. 😊 ;)
 

The_Foxer

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if they choose dua i would be jerking off to the news.
Yeah. I'm not sure they'll look at that as a 'positive' reason to do so...

Plus - knowing that, if they DO choose her now every time she's on the rest of us will be emotionally scarred.
 
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spaminator

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The full story behind Lisa's 'LaFlamme out' at CTV National
Author of the article:Brian Lilley
Publishing date:Aug 16, 2022 • 14 hours ago • 7 minute read • 75 Comments
The truth appears to be that LaFlamme’s departure from the anchor chair of Canada’s most watched television newscast was due to a number of complex reasons.

Was Lisa LaFlamme’s ouster at CTV a case of cleaning up a toxic workplace? Was it due to a company axe man clearing out high-priced talent and establishing dominance? Did LaFlamme finally pay the price for her role in a costly lawsuit?


The truth appears to be that LaFlamme’s departure from the anchor chair of Canada’s most watched television newscast was due to a number of complex reasons. Those looking for a cut and dry story with an easy-to-hate villain or easy-to-love heroine will be disappointed.

There have been claims of an abusive work environment created by LaFlamme. Others have claimed ageism and sexism were the reasons Bell pushed her out.

After speaking to more than a dozen sources who have or continue to work at the organization, including those who have, until recently, worked with LaFlamme, this looks like a clash of egos combined with a company hellbent on cost-cutting.

Supporters describe LaFlamme as professional, passionate about her job and caring, but now the victim of a cold corporate culture at Bell. Her detractors put her down as another star whose bad behaviour finally caught up with them.


The parting of ways makes no sense from the outside. Her ratings were solid, normally close to 1 million people, sometimes shooting up to 1.2 million people watching her newscast which was always in the top 30 shows, according to ratings agency Numeris.

That’s far above what Global pulls in and more than double CBC’s ratings. In an industry driven by eyeballs, that makes her abrupt dismissal more puzzling.

Bizarre departure
The circumstances around LaFlamme’s departure: she broke the news in a self-recorded video from her cottage that was posted to social media and tells us there is more to the story. In her own words, LaFlamme was blindsided and said CTV made what they labelled a business decision.

There was no big send off, not even an on-air goodbye. It was quick, cold, and calculating.


“You have to ask?” said one of LaFlamme’s now former colleagues when asked if her own behaviour led to the departure.



Several sources, all former colleagues, described a toxic work environment at CTV News that started at the top with LaFlamme and her senior producer Rosa Hwang, now also departed. Even one journalist who maintained that they had only experienced good things with LaFlamme and Hwang said they were often referred to as the “mean girls” in the newsroom.

“When I started reading the stories about the toxic work environment on the Ellen DeGeneres show, it was like reading about the CTV newsroom,” said one source.

This wasn’t my experience with LaFlamme the few times I’d interacted with her over the years, but in those instances, she and I were equals of sorts — both journalists working at competing outlets. I worked for Bell Media in Ottawa from 2016-19 and never even heard a whisper of gossip about this.


Over the years, the reputation of Hwang, LaFlamme’s right hand, did spread, and it wasn’t always kind. Demeaning to journalists and editors in the newsroom was a frequent description.

Once LaFlamme was gone, though, the whispers got louder with claims that the anchor was harsh and condescending to the staff.


“I don’t find her toxic, she’s demanding, but she was the lead anchor for a national newscast,” said one longtime associate who described the encouraging emails or notes they would receive from LaFlamme.

Even if all the claims are true, and gossip is highest when people are down, it wouldn’t be enough to force out someone as high profile as LaFlamme. I don’t buy that argument as Bell’s reason for forcing her out, and as you will see, there is reason to doubt claims of a toxic work environment were behind efforts to remove Hwang from the CTV newsroom, as well.


Was the writing on the wall?
Eight months ago, Bell Media, which owns CTV, made a move that in retrospect should have told us bigger changes were coming — Wendy Freeman departed as head of CTV News. While officially described as Freeman stepping down, inside the industry people saw the change for what it was.


Michael Melling, the man who replaced Freeman, is described in less than flattering terms by current and former Bell Media journalists. Politely, he’s called a company man or axe man for a reason. He cut costs and was the head of news when Bell laid off numerous newsroom employees.

According to former colleagues, Melling and LaFlamme definitely didn’t see eye to eye.

Sources say it wasn’t just budgets that they fought over, though that was a particular point of contention, it was also direction and staff. According to sources, Melling had tried to break up the dynamic duo of LaFlamme and Hwang by transferring Hwang from producing CTV National News to being the head of CP24 and the massive local Toronto news department.

If Hwang’s alleged role in creating a “toxic workplace” really were a reason for moving her out of the CTV newsroom with LaFlamme, why did Melling look to move her over to a position overseeing another large and successful news operation? Regardless, she didn’t want that job and made that known.

Hwang pushed back — several sources said she retained a lawyer to fight the move — while LaFlamme backed up her longtime associate. Sources say that, combined with battles over how much to spend on coverage of big stories, like the war in Ukraine, didn’t endear LaFlamme to the new boss.

As for claims that sexism was the reason for pushing out LaFlamme, Melling’s attempt to put Hwang in charge of a highly successful operation calls that into question. As does the fact that he has appointed Ramneek Gill as the general manager of CP24 and CTV News Toronto and Sophia Skopelitis as general manager of CTV News Channel and BNN Bloomberg.


Were past issues part of this decision?
So why the push then? Why fire LaFlamme, the face of the network?

If Melling was the one behind LaFlamme’s departure, then understanding why Melling, a relative newcomer to CTV’s upper ranks, was able to push out the star anchor of close to a dozen years requires looking at events in the past that appear to have soured LaFlamme’s relationship with the executive suite.

In 2015, longtime Bell executive Kevin Crull was thrown under the bus after the CTV newsroom, led by Freeman, LaFlamme and Hwang, according to insiders, complained that he was interfering with their journalism. Crull had instructed newsrooms not to give Jean-Pierre Blais, then the chair of the CRTC, Canada’s broadcast regulator, airtime.


That instruction was made public when the newsroom revolted at the idea that the executive in charge would have any say. Crull was shown the door within days after spending years working his way up through Bell on their phone and internet side, the side where most of their money comes from.

The other incident was the story on Patrick Brown that resulted in him resigning as leader of Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Party. While CTV still says that they stand by their reporting, key facts in the initial broadcast, which LaFlamme was intimately involved in crafting, were wrong.



It seems a long and protracted lawsuit — only recently settled — didn’t help LaFlamme’s standing at Bell among the executives.

In earlier times, someone in the executive ranks might have stepped in to block Melling or others from axing the face of the network — it didn’t happen this time. One former colleague said the bean counters at Bell won the argument on whether keeping LaFlamme was worth the investment.

Was this all about saving money?
Despite high ratings, it seems Bell wanted to lose the big expense of her contract and find someone else who would do the job for what most of us would consider a handsome sum, but still well below LaFlamme’s annual take.

LaFlamme’s supporters describe her as an old school journalist who always put the story first. At Bell Media these days, that doesn’t count as much as saving money does.


My initial response to LaFlamme leaving the way she did was that she deserved better on her way out the door, especially after 35 years, regardless of the reason. That remains the case, but according to sources, she may have caught the network off guard with her video posted to social media.

LaFlamme was expected to host CTV National on Monday, they had to scramble to find a last-minute replacement. Her permanent replacement was away on vacation, nowhere near Toronto nor a CTV studio, forcing the network to scramble to get Omar Sachedina in front of a camera to speak to local affiliates during their newscasts about his launch on Sept. 5.

CTV insiders say they haven’t been briefed on the changes or what direction the newscast is taking in the future.

Seems that at this point, the ship that is Canada’s biggest broadcast news platform remains rudderless and without a captain.

The Sun reached out to Bell Media, Michael Melling, Lisa LaFlamme and Rosa Hwang for comment. All of them declined or did not respond by deadline.
 

spaminator

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LaFlamme ousted over clash on CTV's new direction
Author of the article:Brian Lilley
Publishing date:Aug 18, 2022 • 6 hours ago • 4 minute read • 8 Comments

The decision to fire Lisa LaFlamme from CTV News was approved at the very top of Bell, not Bell Media but Bell Canada, according to sources at Bell.


Those sources say Bell CEO Mirko Bibic was told of the decision to terminate LaFlamme earlier this year after the decision was made by the VP of news Michael Melling.

That decision though was only allowed to go ahead after approval from Karine Moses, the senior vice-president of content development and news as well at Wade Oosterman, the president of Bell Media and then with approval from Bibic himself, sources tell the Sun. The legal department and human resources were also heavily involved according to people close to the decision.

Moses issued a memo to staff early Thursday trying to do damage control on the story that Bell has lost control of the narrative on, if they ever had it.

“Recent media coverage about our team has unfortunately been filled with false narratives and I appreciate that seeing this coverage is likely difficult for many of you,” Moses wrote.

She also took aim at the narrative that LaFlamme was fired because the new boss in the newsroom, Michael Melling doesn’t like women.

“As a female leader at Bell Media with many years of service, I also want you to know that my experiences have always been consistent with a positive, collaborative and inclusive environment,” Moses wrote.



Melling made the decisions but not alone
The idea that’s been put forward by some that LaFlamme was fired because Melling, the VP of news, didn’t like strong women who would push back on him simply doesn’t hold water. Bell is a massive company with several layers of bureaucracy, it’s not the type of place where you can fire the face of the network without going higher up the food chain.

Melling would definitely have required sign off from Moses, a woman, but according to sources it went to the company CEO for approval before anything happened.

One part of the memo from Moses to Bell Media staff that’s being disputed by those close to LaFlamme is that she was offered a chance to say goodbye to viewers on air.

“She opted to not say goodbye to the public during a CTV National newscast,” Moses wrote.


Not true according to LaFlamme confidants who say the network had strict conditions on any on-air goodbye including having LaFlamme say that she was retiring.

Officially, the spin from Bell is that LaFlamme is out due to plans to change direction of the news operation with a stronger digital strategy. Unofficially, Bell sources are making the same claim of a toxic work environment that former colleagues have been making for days.

CTV employees current and former have vented
More than a dozen current and former CTV News employees have spoken about their experience working with LaFlamme.

No one that I have spoken with questions LaFlamme’s journalism or dedication to producing the best possible product. And while many have said LaFlamme could be encouraging and generous, a mentor to younger journalists, they said she allowed her second in command, Rosa Hwang, to run roughshod over people.


“Rosa was Lisa’s bad cop,” said one longtime co-worker of the pair.

Tyrannical, vicious and mean are some of the words used to describe Hwang’s style in dealing with colleagues.

“She ran it like her own personal fiefdom,” said another longtime colleague, who added that LaFlamme just looked the other way.

Comments like this don’t come from the outside, they come from the women and men who worked intimately with LaFlamme and Hwang over many years. Newsrooms are a tough, difficult place and the niceties that we demand of others are often thrown by the wayside. That said, newsroom veterans are decrying the working conditions.

That isn’t my experience with LaFlamme when I’ve met her, though Hwang’s reputation preceded her, but I was a fellow journalist to LaFlamme, not someone who worked for her.


Asking LaFlamme confidants to respond to these claims was met with silence Thursday afternoon. Was this really the reason for her firing?

Given that Hwang was in studio on Thursday and part of the townhall on the changes, that’s tough to believe. Why would you fire someone over allegations of a toxic work environment when the person who is most complained about is asking questions at the townhall on the firing.

None of this makes sense.

Bell’s new direction for news
Bell has stated that they want to take a new direction, that the 11 p.m. national newscast will not be the sun that the CTV universe orbits around. In her email to staff, Moses said they were looking for “a shift to more digital news creation to meet the challenge of changing viewer habits.”


According to sources, this isn’t a change that LaFlamme agreed with. She wanted stories to break on her newscast first and didn’t appreciate the digital first strategy.

I wrote on Tuesday that I thought this was about a clash of egos and personalities and I still do.

The claims of ageism, sexism or a toxic work environment are all interesting and get people talking but when you get down to the why, it’s about egos and vision.

It seems most likely that LaFlamme thought she should be in charge of the person she ultimately reported to, Michael Melling.

Melling had a different view of where CTV’s news operations should be headed and he clashed with LaFlamme. Everything else is secondary in my view.

The people at the top, including Bell CEO Mirko Bibic, had put people in charge to run the news operations — a tiny portion of this company — and it is likely LaFlamme didn’t want to get on board. Everyone has a boss and if you clash with them, someone is headed for the exit.

In this case it would appear to be LaFlamme.

Bell, LaFlamme and Hwang have all declined to comment.
 

harrylee

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Same thing happened to Jennifer Valentyne of Breakfast TV a couple of years ago. Just not sexy enough for the camera anymore I guess.....Justine will find all about that soon enough.
 

petros

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Same thing happened to Jennifer Valentyne of Breakfast TV a couple of years ago. Just not sexy enough for the camera anymore I guess.....Justine will find all about that soon enough.
Justin unlike his drooped out father will use botox and fillers to appear younger.

We already know he wears make-up.