Head of CTV News Michael Melling reassigned after Lisa LaFlamme fallout


TORONTO — CTV News head Michael Melling, who became embroiled in the fallout of Lisa LaFlamme’s sudden and unexpected exit from the nightly national newscast, is now being replaced in his role.

Several months after Melling took a leave of absence from the news division, a Bell Media statement confirmed Monday his job will be permanently filled by Richard Gray, who has been serving as interim vice-president of news.

The company says Melling has been reassigned to vice-president of shared services.

A representative for Bell Media declined to clarify what Melling’s new role would entail.

The decision follows an independent third-party review of the CTV national newsroom that was sparked by the ousting of LaFlamme as anchor of the flagship newscast.

LaFlamme said she had been “blindsided” by her firing, which she announced in a video posted on social media in August. The move rattled the newsroom and raised concerns over the workplace culture at CTV News.

It also ignited a conversation about whether sexism or ageism were part of the reason the respected 58-year-old anchor was kicked out of her job.

When LaFlamme left CTV News, former national affairs reporter Omar Sachedina became chief anchor of the broadcast.

Bell Media weathered weeks of blowback, with Melling taking the brunt of the criticism over the decision. At one point, the company issued a statement saying it “regrets” the way in which LaFlamme’s exit was handled, as it “may have left viewers with the wrong impression” that her storied career wasn’t valued.

The company also held a town hall with CTV News staff in an attempt to ease unrest in the department.

An internal memo obtained by The Canadian Press on Monday did not mention LaFlamme or how her firing affected staff in the weeks that followed.

It did, however, acknowledge findings of “a culture where people are sometimes afraid to raise concerns for fear of reprisal or inaction.”

“The goal of this review was to gather information about the culture, environment and practices in the CTV National newsroom, with a view to identifying any issues, concerns or areas for improvement so that we could then work to address them,” the memo said.

The internal review, conducted by employment lawyer Sarah Crossley and her associate Laura Freitag, found “a need for greater civility and respect in the newsroom” and “a desire to improve working conditions.”

The memo also pledged to foster a culture “based on communication, transparency, engagement and respect” as well as improve “workload, workflow and work-life balance.”



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