Bell Media to launch third-party newsroom investigation

Bell Media says it will launch an “independent third-party internal workplace review” of its newsroom, in the wake of the public backlash over the termination of CTV Chief Anchor and Senior News Editor Lisa LaFlamme.

Bell issued a statement Friday morning, signed by Wade Oosterman, President of Bell Media, and Karine Moses, Senior Vice President, Content Development and News, saying that “CTV regrets that the way in which her departure has been communicated may have left viewers with the wrong impression about how CTV regards Lisa and her remarkable career.”

As insinuations abound on social media about the role ageism and sexism may have played in LaFlamme being released from her contract, Bell’s statement follows a memo sent to Bell Media newsroom staff on Thursday in which Moses countered media coverage “filled with false narratives,” clarifying that LaFlamme was given the opportunity for a formal goodbye, but turned it down. She also expressed her support for VP of News Michael Melling.

The memo was followed by a town hall at which Melling and Moses were present to answer questions from staff, including anchor Sandie Rinaldo – who is filling on the CTV National News desk until Omar Sachedina takes up LaFlamme’s former role in September – and Rosa Hwang, Executive Producer, CTV National News.

Canadaland has obtained a recording of the meeting and subsequently published a transcript that indicates staff didn’t receive clear answers about potential changes coming to the network news structure.

In response to a question about the abrupt nature of the announcement and the ensuing rush to declare LaFlamme’s replacement, Moses took the narrative that the announcement rollout was “very well-sequenced.”

“In terms of the sequence of what happened, unfortunately, there are a couple of things that cannot be shared. We could not share it with you before it went public. So that’s one of the things, unfortunately. So things happen very fast, very quickly. So unfortunately, it looked a little bit disorganized, but it was very well-sequenced,” Moses told staff, according to the Canadaland transcript.

Staff also pushed back on the damage done to Sachedina’s reputation, who has inadvertently become a target of public backlash.

Another news team member questioned how morale “which is safe to say we’ve never seen so low” could be restored.

Melling called the problem “a layered challenge for the organization.”

“It’s gone on for a while and there’s so many different layers to it. It can include things like resource allocations, the way things are sometimes structured, sometimes the way feedback is provided. There’s a lot of conversations we can have to move that conversation forward,” he responded.


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Connie Thiessen
Connie Thiessenhttps://broadcastdialogue.com
Connie has worked coast-to-coast as a reporter, editor, anchor and host at CKNW and News 1130 in Vancouver, News 95.7 and CBC in Halifax, and CFCW Edmonton, among other stations. With a passion for music, film and community service, she led News 95.7 to a 2013 Atlantic Journalism Award and regional RTDNA award for Best Radio Newscast. More recently, she was nominated for Music Journalist of the Year at Canadian Music Week 2019. To report a typo or error please email - corrections@broadcastdialogue.com

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