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Moving ideas? The news media’s impact on ridehailing regulation in Canadian cities

Jun 22, 2022

Moving ideas? The news media’s impact on ridehailing regulation in Canadian cities

Austin Zwick, Zachary Spicer, Mischa Young

Journal of Urban Affairs, May 2022

Austin Zwick

Austin Zwick


Over the last 5 years, regulating ridehailing has risen to the top of the agenda in nearly every major city. There is an established academic literature that speaks to how traditional news media shapes and informs the regulatory agenda for municipalities. Building off this literature, we investigate the role that traditional news media played in shaping the debate about regulating ridehailing in Canadian cities. After searching and analyzing the news media coverage of six major events and four general themes in eight major news media publications in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, we conclude that publications rarely took a consistent political/ideological viewpoint. We offer three non-mutually exclusive contributory factors to explain our results, however, the authors would like to emphasize that consolidation and profit-maximizing behavior in the news industry have led to the relinquishment of news media’s historical role in municipal agenda-setting.