Urban Journalism Institute
Municipal Times Journal


A debate among journalists, communicators and local governments’ representatives, which was part of the Media for Cities campaign, took place in Brussels within the framework of the UCLG Executive Bureau and the Brussels Urban Summit.  

Media, responsible for reporting on urban issues, is entangled with informing the public about sustainable development and explaining concepts such as the commons or local finance. By nature, media concerned with urban issues must use a wide lens, covering societal, social and political issues from the global to the local scale. Yet media, particularly journalism itself, is embattled, both by polarizing forces and lack of trust, as well as existential threats to journalists and journalism, both in terms of bodily harm but also sustained professional existence. 

“We, as journalists and communicators, try to achieve an informed society. Because that is what we need to generate consensus and popular awareness, and thus citizens participate in democratic processes.” 
@jessicabridger at the #MediaforCities debate. 

“People want to understand the issues that are relevant to them. When I tell a story, I want to make people understand what is driving change in their lives and what are the issues that are changing our societies. People need insight rather than negativity”.
@tracymetznrc, director of @JohnAdamsNL  

“Editors are very reluctant to cover stories about well-functioning societies, but citizens want to know when something works, for this, they are very interested in what their mayors are doing.” 
“It is necessary to communicate from a more human level, not only for greater understanding but also to preserve trust in the #media.” 

@aitorehm, @politico 

“Right now, many cities are information deserts or news monopolies. Only in the largest markets are the truly future-proof business models for local journalism. And that is bad for public trust and democracy.”  

“Action gains trust. If you do something right, instantly you gain trust. Be transparent, own your mistakes”.  
@tim_weber @EdelmanUK 

The Media for Cities campaign aims to bring urban journalism and city-related topics to newsrooms globally by advocating within the media sector for research and elaboration of the most Influential urban policies and strategies. It also seeks to promote and strengthen media presence in dialogues on sustainable urban development. In these ways, Media for Cities seeks to both inform and strengthen sustainable urban development strategies, moving the topic into the spotlight in networking meetings and public debates with influential media representatives, international organizations, and local authorities. The campaign will also develop partnership agreements with media worldwide to increase the coverage of sustainable urban development issues.