CityNews hires Lisa LaFlamme as special correspondent

CityNews hires Lisa LaFlamme as special correspondent

CityNews has hired veteran news anchor Lisa LaFlamme as a special correspondent to lead its coverage of the death and legacy of Queen Elizabeth.

LaFlamme herself made headlines across the country last month when she was fired as chief news anchor for CTV National News. The move prompted widespread speculation about whether she had been fired for political reasons or had been a victim of ageism in the workplace.

CTV said the decision to end LaFlamme's contract was due to "changing viewer habits." Bell Media, which owns CTV, later said it regretted how LaFlamme's departure was handled, and that it would initiate a third-party independent workplace review of its newsroom.

LaFlamme's new employer, CityNews, said she will travel to London to provide daily television and radio reporting on the legacy of Queen Elizabeth and the transition to the reign of King Charles, and will lead live coverage of the Queen's funeral.

"The Queen is the only monarch most of us have ever known. We grew up with Her Majesty and mourn the passing of this remarkable and inspiring woman," said LaFlamme in a statement released by CityNews.

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"As this second Elizabethan era comes to an end, I can only say how truly honoured I am to help tell the story of her life and the legacy she leaves."

Rogers Sports and Media, the parent company of CityNews, said LaFlamme's reporting will be made available on all of its platforms.

"News coverage of such a pivotal moment in history is integral to achieving our mission of keeping Canadians connected and informed, and Lisa LaFlamme's incredible talent and wealth of experience are befitting of an event of this magnitude," said Rogers president Colette Watson.

Could be 'really great' for CityNews 

Initial reaction to LaFlamme's arrival has been positive among those in and outside of Rogers, says Connie Thiessen, the editor of Broadcast Dialogue, an industry trade publication focused on Canadian broadcast media.

"This could be a really great thing for the network," she said, but added this is a one-time special correspondence event.

"As far as what the relationship with LaFlamme is going to look like in the future, that's to be determined."

A Rogers spokesperson confirmed to CBC News that, for now, this is a one-time, temporary assignment for LaFlamme.

"The focus right now is on our commemorative coverage plans and Lisa will lead that coverage for CityNews as a special correspondent just until after the funeral," they said in a statement.

Thiessen says public interest in LaFlamme's departure from CTV News has been huge.

"We've had almost a full four weeks of headlines generated from that incident," she said. "I can't remember the last time that a story surrounding traditional television made headlines for that length of time."

"The whole handling of this from a public relations perspective is a cautionary tale from all of the other networks in how they handle the very challenging transition from a traditional television focused audience to a digital and on demand product."