Advocate, Copycatting or Simply Pragmatic: Reconceptualising Contemporary 'Marginal' Journalism(s)


  • Daniel H. Mutibwa University of Leeds



advocacy, public-service, professionalism, hybrid practice, commerce, regulation, politics, technology


Journalism(s) at the margins have often been perceived to focus exclusively on public service obligations.
The motivation for this lies in the inability and/or unwillingness of mainstream public service and commercial
media to provide a range of civic programming that caters to the needs and interests of diverse groups
in society. This research, however, shows that evolving socio-political and socio-economic circumstances
have had a considerable impact on contemporary marginal journalism(s). Whilst a commitment to publicservice
goals remains perceptible, this article makes two key arguments. First, the changing conditions
in which journalists at the margins operate increasingly compel them to embrace mechanised journalistic
routines associated with mainstream media, thereby compromising their public-service function. Second
and following on from the first point, marginal journalism(s) have devised innovative media strategies to
cope with the evolving circumstances in a manner reminiscent of the concept of the “third sector”. This
evidence – based on data gathered through ethnographic research at three selected case study organisations
- provides us with an enhanced understanding of current trends in this field. The article highlights
these developments and in doing so, makes a contribution to the development of a conceptual framework
of contemporary marginal journalism(s).

Author Biography

Daniel H. Mutibwa, University of Leeds

Research Fellow

Institute of Communications Studies (ICS)


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