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NYC Council rips Mayor Adams’ office for causing ‘confusion’ with new City Hall press restrictions

A spokesman for City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams is chiding Mayor Adams’ office for causing “conflict and confusion” by imposing a new restriction on how many desks media outlets covering his administration can keep in City Hall’s press room.

Under the new policy, communicated Thursday to the Daily News, the New York Times and other local outlets, media organizations will only be allowed to have one dedicated desk each in City Hall’s Room 9 starting July 1. Currently, several outlets, including The News, have multiple reporters assigned to cover the mayor and the Council full-time, and they all have their own dedicated desks in Room 9, meaning the new policy will impact their ability to work in the press room together at the same time.

In a letter outlining the new policy, mayoral spokesman Fabien Levy said limiting the number of permanent desks each outlet can have to one “will allow us to expand the number of outlets and reporters covering their city government directly from City Hall, including outlets that have historically been left out of Room 9,” such as ethnic news organizations.

In a string of posts on X late Thursday, Levy said the NYC Association of Local & Ethnic Media, a newly-launched group, wrote in April to the Council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus requesting space in Room 9. “There are more than 300 ethnic and community outlets across the 5 boroughs, while several of the dozen or so outlets in Room 9 currently are assigned 2-3 desks each,” Levy quoted the letter as saying.

But Rendy Desamour, a spokesman for Speaker Adams, questioned Friday why ensuring more media access at City Hall would necessitate limiting the number of desks each outlet can have in Room 9.

“As far as we know, Room 9 is not full and is available for use by any journalist who wishes to utilize it. There are also other spaces in City Hall for members of the media to utilize, and the Council is willing to engage in thoughtful consideration and planning should more space be needed,” Desamour said.

Of the new desk rule, Desamour added: “The confusion and conflict being created seems unnecessary, and government should not restrict journalists’ abilities to do their vital jobs in a democratic society.”

The “other spaces” referenced by Desamour include 4A, a room in City Hall’s basement that used to serve as an extra workspace for journalists. However, upon Adams becoming mayor, his office made it a break room for Department of Citywide Administrative Services staffers instead.

Levy didn’t immediately return a request for comment on Desamour’s proposal, but in his Thursday evening X posts Levy said the mayor’s office is “still searching for additional space” for media in the building.

Adams, the city’s second Black mayor, has since the outset of his administration lamented what he sees as a lack of racial diversity in the press corps covering him and City Hall. He also often argues that coverage of his mayoralty has been overly negative, though Levy in his letter said the administration’s hope is “that this policy will help support an inclusive press corps that looks like the city it covers.”

Adams has faced a particularly tough stretch in media coverage over the last several months with the disclosure in November that the FBI is investigating potential ties between Turkey and his 2021 mayoral campaign. Adams has not been accused of any wrongdoing in that probe.


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