The Mayor of London’s controversial free newspaper The Londoner has won the journalism award at the annual Good Communication Awards organised by Public Sector Publishing.
The monthly paper has attracted criticism from some journalists who claim it uses taxpayers’ money to deliver a propaganda message packaged as real journalism.
But the judges claimed today that it competes on equal terms with the London dailies, and Ken Livingstone’s PR boss said that it informs more people about the work of the Mayor than the Evening Standard.
A panel of judges said the Londoner was ‘a worthy winner. A tabloid paper that competes on equal terms with the London frees. It offers a good range of bright stories both news and features, but what really sets this item apart is the quality of the writing, with great intros and not a wasted word. This is journalism of national newspaper quality.”
Mayor of London Ken Livingstone said: ‘All of our polls show that people want news of the Greater London Authority directly. That is why we circulate the Londoner to every home in London.
‘Londoners have a right to be informed directly of what is done in their name, and given the chance to make their own voices heard. This award shows this can be done in an entertaining and accessible way. The Londoner team are doing a great job for Londoners.”
Redmond O’Neill, the Mayor’s director of public affairs, said: ‘Since we launched The Londoner five years ago, the percentage of people who say they are informed about the work of the Mayor has almost tripled. Today, more people get their information about the work of the Mayor from the monthly Londoner, than the daily Evening Standard.
‘Our basic message is how to get the most out of London and the editorial team has been outstanding in communicating that in an effective and accessible way.”
Launched in December 2002, The Londoner is distributed 10 times a year, to three million households across London.