Urban Journalism Institute
Municipal Times Journal


The Mayor of Montevideo and UCLG President, Carolina Cosse, started the conversation by advocating for “local governments to work together with the media to tell local stories fairly, responding to the needs of the people.”

Carlos Martínez, Mayor of Soria, reminded that “UCLG’s goal is the capacity to influence international policies to solve citizens’ problems with better tools”. Taneen Rudyk, President of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), explained her experience communicating with citizens and being ready to listen. She also expressed concerns about the rise of online harassment, violence and aggression cases in social media against elected officials, especially women.

José Manuel Ribeiro, Mayor of Valongo, pointed out that he is a citizen who happened to be a Mayor temporarily – and as he is expected to do his job well, he also expects journalists to do their job at the highest level. He further stressed that “it is necessary to explain that among one million elected officials in Europe, the vast majority are not corrupt. They are honest and hard-working people, and the media could support their efforts to empower communities.”

Emmanuel Carroz, Deputy Mayor of Grenoble, stressed that there is a lack of newspapers dedicated to local issues targeting the general public in France. He also expressed his opinion that currently there are fewer readers, less traditional media, fewer journalists and less time.

The Media for Cities debate also included a conversation among journalists covering urban issues. The session, moderated by urbanist and journalist Jessica Bridger, focused on constructing narratives that showcase the local approaches to global issues and the value of local storytelling.

Journalist Quynh Tran mentioned that it is important for local politicians to know which journalists to talk to if they want their specific urban projects and initiatives to be covered in the media. Many big media houses have an economic reporter and foreign correspondent, but only a few have an urban expert writing on cities. She added that mayors looking for worldwide media coverage should ask themselves: “What my city does that can be a good example internationally”?

Pau Rodriguez, a correspondent from ElDiario.es, stressed that “local journalism” might sound like a romantic idea of journalism, but it is complex work that includes observing local realities and having multiple discussions with people. “Finding voices that do not belong to any organization and have bias is not easy”, he concluded.

Carlota Rebelo, a senior foreign correspondent in Monocle, praised the UCLG members, where mayors share information and learn from each other. She reminded that the voices, knowledge, and stories on the ground are crucial.

Jessica Bridger concluded the panel by highlighting that “there is a need to support professional journalists, telling well-research fact-checked stories about the things we all care about, about the things that advance sustainable development. It is how can we best work together to achieve common goals”.

UCLG and OnCities 2030, through the Urban Journalism Institute, joined efforts to increase the understanding and rigorous information about the local efforts towards achieving social, economic, and environmental sustainability as part of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals, the implementation of the New Urban Agenda and the total commitment towards the climate action agenda.

A Media for Cities debate and an Urban Journalism Academy will be organized within the framework of the UCLG Executive Bureau in Brussels in June 2023.