Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - mass transit, place - australasia, planning - marketing/promotion, policy - equity, planning - promotion


newspaper campaign, mass media, transport advocacy, transport policy, social capital building


The media has an important role in reporting transport news, but it can also engage in transport advocacy and shape transport policy and planning. In 2009, The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper launched an independent inquiry to develop a long term public transport plan for Sydney, with 500 page preliminary and final reports released in 2010 after community consultation including public meetings and submissions. Most members of the Inquiry team, transport professionals, donated their time to the Inquiry. The paper examines the campaign by The Sydney Morning Herald to develop a long term public transport plan for Sydney, independent of the NSW state government. It reviews the who, what, how, and why of the campaign. It analyses the impact and influence of the campaign in terms of the contribution to content in the newspaper and impact on government transport policy. The campaign is positioned in the context of civic engagement and social capital, as well as policy transfer. The paper finds that the Herald did not make as full a use of its sponsored Inquiry as it could have, suggesting dual reasons for the campaign of both content generation and readership, and civic engagement and social capital building.