Hamilton debuts larger, fancier $150,000 media centre at city hall

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Published November 17, 2023 at 12:34 pm

Hamilton new media centre
City officials hold a virtual press conference on Nov. 13 in the new media centre at city hall.

The City of Hamilton debuted earlier this week its new $150,000 media centre, which is considerably bigger and has more amenities than the small room it previously used for press conferences.

City officials held a virtual press conference at the new media centre for the first time on Nov. 13 to update the public about the Hamilton Street Railway strike, which was on its fifth day at that time, and the Grey Cup festivities, which are in full swing this week ahead of the championship game on Sunday. The transit strike that stranded thousands of passengers for seven days ended yesterday with a tentative deal and bus service fully restarted today (Nov. 17).

Matthew Grant, director of communications and strategic initiatives, said the media centre was “funded entirely through existing City resources” at a cost of about $150,000. Grant said most of the funds were used for its construction and for equipment such as technical, video, sound and lighting enhancements.

“The development was conducted through a competitive Request for Quotation process to ensure the best value for money,” he said in an email to inthehammer.com. “As the project is a relocation of an existing amenity, it did not require new budget allocations and has no impact on the budget discussions or tax increases.”

Grant said City staff had consulted local media outlets on the new media centre at city hall over the last two years.

Before the pandemic, he said the City only had a small media room on the second floor of city hall. The City also had “no consistent location or format for City-led in person media briefings,” Grant said. 

“In discussions with members of the media over the last while, it was clear that the former media room was not well used and not fit for purpose,” Grant explained. “The experience of the pandemic also made clear that the City needed the ability to stream professional video directly to the public, something it was previously unable to do. … The new Media Centre, located in City Hall, is intended to provide more amenities to support media reporting on City business.”

He said the new space will better accommodate media and allow room for physical distancing, increasing it from the old media room’s 300 square feet to nearly 3,000 square feet. It also has about 10 workstations, with space between desks and small meeting tables. On-site televisions will stream council and committee meetings in real-time. A press conference room has live-stream capabilities. Broadcast media can lock up and store expensive equipment.

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