Claire West

London is grabbing the opportunity to showcase the capital to the world by providing a fully equipped media centre in the heart of the city during the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, today announced that the spacious One Great George Street conference centre off Parliament Square will house the London Media Centre, welcoming non-accredited and accredited journalists.

At each Olympiad the National Olympic Committees collectively accredit around 25,000 journalists and other representatives from international media organisations to cover the Games, giving them access to the Olympic Park Media Centre and International Broadcast Centre. However thousands more journalists, without accreditation, will also descend on the capital to report on the Games and celebrations in London during this historic period.

The Mayor has therefore made special arrangements to accommodate them, and accredited media, in One Great George Street. The Centre will have workspaces for over 250 journalists, with press conference facilities to sit 200 members of media. It will be a fully serviced 24-hour media centre with live broadcasting areas, additional office space for photographers and in-house dining facilities.

The London Media Centre is perfectly located for journalists to attend events as well as experience why London is such a great place to visit, live, study, and do business. Media will be just a ten-minute walk from a host of London's vibrant attractions, from its internationally renowned bars, clubs and restaurants, to its great museums and the best theatre land in the world. With some of the most iconic tourist spots on their doorstep, they are also a short journey to Games venues such as Horse Guards Parade and the Live Sites in Hyde Park and on the South Bank. Westminster Tube station is a five -minute walk, from where they can travel direct to the Olympic Park on the Jubilee Line within 30 minutes.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said:

“London has the best and most diverse leisure and cultural offering of any city in the world. Whether it is relaxing in one of our famous parks or squares or experiencing London’s unrivalled nightlife all our guests in 2012, be they spectators, athletes, media or organisers, will be truly spoilt for choice.

“Journalists joining us for these historic days in the summer of 2012 are now guaranteed a central working base in the heart of all the action. A stone’s throw from the London Media Centre lie some of the capital’s most iconic shots and locations, ready to be beamed into homes across the globe. I look forward to welcoming our visitors in 2012 and joining with them for the biggest party London has ever seen.”

LOCOG Chair Sebastian Coe said: “In the summer of 2012, the focus of the world will be on London. As well as thousands of athletes, thousands more media will be in London and will be telling our story globally. Ensuring they are well looked after and have all the information they need about the Games, about London and about the UK as a whole will be vital to how they work and how London and the Games is reported.“

Christopher Wyld, Director of the Foreign Press Association, said: “The Foreign Press Association in London looks forward to working closely with the Mayor and Visit London to make sure that visiting journalists get every opportunity to see what a diverse and exciting city London is before, during and after the 2012 Games. London is one of the great media hubs of the world and the central location of the London Media Centre will provide yet another opportunity to welcome foreign journalists to the United Kingdom and help them gain access to the people they want to meet and the places they want to see”.

Visit London’s Chief Executive Sally Chatterjee said: “Worldwide media coverage is perhaps the single biggest opportunity for promoting the city in 2012. And there will be as many fantastic stories to tell outside the sporting venues as there are inside. The eyes of the world will be upon us throughout the whole of the Olympic year and it’s the world’s media who will be telling that story. It’s vital that we work closely with journalists, make them as welcome as we possibly can and provide them with great news about the city.”

To help all visitors to travel smoothly around the city up to 8,000 London Ambassadors will be located at key points across the city providing information, assistance and a warm smile to everybody needing help and support during their stay for the Games. These volunteers will be in addition to the 70,000 Games Makers that London 2012 organisers will be recruiting to help at Games venues.

On their arrival in London journalists and spectators will find the world’s best big city proudly showing what it has to offer to the billions watching around the globe. This includes London’s transformation into a true cycle friendly capital with cycle super highways leading into the heart of the city from the outer boroughs and the new cycle hire scheme allowing people to travel short distances in central London on the 6,000 bikes stationed at more than 400 collection points dotted around the city centre.

By 2012, people living, working and visiting London will enjoy the results of the Mayor's programmes to radically improve the capital's environment and quality of life. They will discover new and revamped public spaces as part of the Mayor's £220 million Great Outdoors Programme, including revitalised parks and squares, 2,012 new community food growing plots as well as 10,000 newly planted street trees across the capital. They will see the progression of the Mayor's drive to make London the electric vehicle capital of Europe with thousands of branded charge points in place to support thousands of electric cars, streets that will be cleaner through a determined drive to stamp out litter and the curse of chewing gum.

London's air quality will be improved as the consequence as a robust programme in place to tackle pollution with tougher restrictions to cover more types of vehicles entering the city's Low Emission Zone in place from January 2012; a new era of lower polluting buses with all new buses entering the capital's bus fleet by 2012 being hybrid, whilst the New Bus for London will be 40 per cent cleaner.