City Hall Lobby Launched to Boost Scrutiny Of London Politics

Journalists who cover the Mayor of London and Greater London Authority have launched a new city hall lobby, to bring together reporters and help shine a light on devolved London politics.  

The City Hall Journalists is open to all those who regularly watch and report on the Mayor and Greater London Authority. Their soft launch will be hosted at the GLA head office at The Crystal in Newham this evening and will begin developing proposals for improving access for journalists and transparency for the public in the coming weeks.

News Media Association chief executive Owen Meredith said: “Journalism has a fundamental role to play in holding power to account and scrutiny of town halls, who have responsibility over vast sums of public money, is absolutely essential.

“I am pleased that this new group has been formed, bringing together key players from across the sector, and believe it will strengthen and enhance public access to information about the Greater London Authority.”

The founder of the group, and city hall editor at MyLondon, Josiah Mortimer said: “Coverage of City Hall is so vital for Londoners and the devolution agenda nationally. The Mayor and GLA as a whole have a £19 billion budget with huge powers over policing, the fire brigade, transport and more. 

“There aren’t a lot of us covering city hall, so it’s great to be working together to speak with a louder voice, improve transparency and build the profile of GLA reporting. It’s great to get this network off the ground and continue to shine a light on London’s fascinating local politics.

“I saw how helpful the press gallery was as a supportive network when I was there – hopefully we can bring some of the best of that to The Crystal.”

The National Union of Journalists said: “The city hall lobby and its aims to improve engagement between the GLA and journalists is welcomed by the NUJ. Increased transparency in decision making and access to improved resources, allowing journalists to undertake reporting efficiently must be prioritised, to support quality journalism.”

Dawn Alford, executive director of the Society of Editors added: “The Society welcomes this initiative which it hopes will enable journalists covering city hall to further enhance the vital work that they do scrutinising the workings of the Greater London Authority on behalf of the public.”

BBC, ITV, LondonWorld, MyLondon, Standard and Bauer are among the outlets involved so far.