(Toronto) veteran Lisa LaFlamme says she was “surprised” when Bell Media canceled her contract CTV National News after 35 years.
Posted at 3:19pm
The veteran journalist braved the odds as the silver-haired host of the country’s most-watched national news show, but witnesses say her time at CTV came to an unspectacular end on Monday when the network announced her departure and replacement.
Without official approval, Bell Media’s management issued a press release Monday stating that Mme LaFlamme had been removed from his position CTV National News as part of a decision based on “changing viewing habits”.
What CTV hasn’t explained is how it intends to develop the show further with its recently announced successor, Omar Sachedina, set to headline the news from September 5. Mr. Sachedina, who joined the network in 2009, is a national affairs correspondent for CTV News.
Officials declined to comment other than to say: “We wish Lisa nothing but the best as she begins a new chapter. »
Lisa LaFlamme revealed Bell Media’s decision in a video on social media, saying she was still shocked and saddened by the announcement, which was made to her in June, but couldn’t speak out to this day.
sexism and ageism
The lack of strategic clarity in the company’s decision to terminate his contract only drew more attention to Mme The flame. It’s also raised questions about whether she’s just another woman on the list of countless people who have faced sexism and ageism in the television news industry.
“It was a quick hit — and it was a hit,” said Jeffrey Dvorkin, former director of the University of Toronto’s journalism program.
“It gives the company a bad image in the short run, but in the long run they could do better as if they were all geniuses and made the right decision,” he continues.
Meanwhile, CTV faces questions about the intent behind firing its top news anchor.
In a video on social media, Lisa LaFlamme thanked viewers and her colleagues for their “unwavering support” and acknowledged that this was likely her official departure from CTV.
In a written statement, she highlighted her “35 years of service – of journalism – of the work I’ve dedicated my life to,” which is now over. “At 58, I thought I would have more time to tell you about the events that are affecting our lives, as I have been doing for decades,” she says.
“It is with humility that I leave behind the people who have trusted me to tell their stories,” she continues.
The edition of Mme LaFlamme drew an immediate reaction on social media from friends, viewers and colleagues.
Ian Hanomansing, one of the hosts of the competing nighttime news show, CBC The NationalHe was “wordless,” he said.
“Lisa is one of the best at what she does. I know surprisingly random decisions can be made in this business, but Lisa, you deserve better. Much better,” he tweeted.
Lisa LaFlamme took on the role of CTV’s first news anchor in 2011 when Lloyd Robertson retired at the age of 77 after more than four decades as the national news anchor.
She immediately impressed with her on-screen presence after every high-profile evening show on the CTV network.
She has received many awards over the years, she was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2019 and earlier this year she was named Best News Anchor at the Canadian Screen Awards.
During the pandemic, like many other women, she decided to embrace her gray hair, prompting opinion pieces that widely celebrated her gesture but also acknowledged that she struggled with double standards.
“When Lisa made the decision to keep her beautiful white and gray hair, I thought [que cela allait la] Score,” said Angela Misri, an assistant professor at the Metropolitan University of Toronto, a former CBC and Walrus reporter.
“It often marks women of a certain age and appearance. And I worried about her at the time. But it also encouraged me to see a woman expressing her true age on screen and still holding one of the highest positions,” said Ms.me Misri.
“I think we need more people like her on the air,” she added.
The stakes are high for CTV’s nightly news show, which consistently outperforms competitors in ratings but also struggles to become the definitive source on new media platforms. The traditional Canadian television industry is in the midst of widespread experimentation and significant changes that have increased the importance of building audiences on digital platforms, including YouTube and TikTok.
In June, public broadcaster CBC announced plans to shake up its newscast The National placing journalist Adrienne Arsenault as the main anchor before launching a free 24-hour live streaming channel this fall.
CTV, owned by a telecoms giant that has struggled for years with an inevitable shift away from traditional television, may feel similar pressure to attract digital audiences with media coverage.
In 2020, a business partnership with Quibi to produce small news segments failed when the American streamwhich is worth a billion dollars, closed its doors.
Jeffrey Dvorkin believes executives could have looked for a fresh face to lead the network in an increasingly digital media landscape.
“The demographics of journalism have changed so much in a short period of time, and the search for new, more diverse, and younger audiences is constant,” said the former director of the University of Toronto’s journalism program.
He expects viewership to drop after Ms’ departure.me LaFlamme, but that should bounce back as Mr. Sachedina settles into his new role. He points out that while change is difficult, it is possible and the public will get used to it.