From stark opposition to partial adaption

How 12 Danish alternative media construct and position themselves vis-à-vis the media- and political mainstream


  • Miriam Kroman Brems Aarhus University



alternative media, partisanship, Danish media system, degrees of alternativeness, media criticism, political criticism, political parallelism


Alternative media are defined by their position as challengers of mainstream media and politics alike. However, recent studies suggest that they act out their opposition to mainstream media and their political partisanship in different ways. Against this backdrop, the study at hand investigates how 12 Danish alternative media construct and position themselves against the media- and political mainstream. The study identifies substantial differences regarding the outlets’ commitment to or rejection of the ethical rules and norms of professional journalism, whether they adopt or deviate from a neutral journalistic style, what ideological agendas they advocate, their political ties, and the media- and political criticism they voice. In doing so, the study adds to a growing body of research suggesting that alternative media are a heterogeneous group. Based on these findings, the study discusses the different potentials for impact that alternative media have on the media- and political systems they enter.


Atton, C. (2002). News Cultures and New Social Movements: radical journalism and the mainstream media. Journalism Studies, 3(4), 491–505. DOI:10.1080/1461670022000019209.

Barnidge, M. & Peacock, C. (2019). A Third Wave of Selective Exposure Research? The Challenges Posed by Hyperpartisan News on So-cial Media. Media and Communication 7(3), 4-7.

Blach-Ørsten, M. & Mayerhöffer, E. (2021). Det politiske informati-onslandskab i Danmark 2.0. Politica, 53(2), 99-124.

Brems, M. K. (2022). Party-Political and Ideological Partisanship in Danish Alternative Media: How Distinguishing between Types of Partisanship Can Advance Our Understanding of the Political Roles of Alternative Media, Journalism Studies, DOI: 10.1080/1461670X.2022.2157316

Cushion, S., McDowell-Naylor, D. & Thomas, R. (2021). Why National Media Systems Matter: A Longitudinal Analysis of How UK Left-Wing and Right-Wing Alternative Media Critique Mainstream Media (2015–2018). Journalism Studies, 22(5), 633-652. DOI:10.1080/1461670X.2021.1893795

Cushion, S. (2021). UK Alternative Left Media and Their Criticism of Mainstream News: Analysing the Canary and Evolve Politics, Journalism Practice, DOI:10.1080/17512786.2021.1882875

Deterding, N. & Waters, M. (2021). Flexible Coding of In-depth Inter-views: A Twenty-first-century Approach. Sociological Methods & Research 50(2), 708-739.

Downing, J. (2001). Radical Media: Rebellious Communication and Social Movements. Sage.

Figenschou, T. & Ihlebæk, K. (2019). Challenging Journalistic Authori-ty. Media criticism in far-right alternative media. Journalism Studies 20(9), 1221-1237. DOI:10.1080/1461670X.2018.1500868.

Frischlich, L. Klapproth, J. & Brinkschulte F. (2020). Between Main-stream and Alternative – Co-orientation in Right-Wing Populist Alternative News Media. Disinformation in Open Online Media.

Hallin, D. & Mancini, P. (2004). Comparing Media Systems. Three Mod-els of Media and Politics. Cambridge University Press.

Heft, A., Mayerhöffer E., Reinhardt, S. & Knüpfer C. (2020). Beyond Breitbart: Comparing right‐wing digital news infrastructures in six western democracies. Policy & Internet 12(1), 20-45. DOI:10.1002/poi3.219

Hjarvard, S. (2010). The views of the news: The role of political news-papers in a changing media landscape. Nothern Lights 8, 25-48.

Holt, K. (2016). Alternativmedier? En intervjustudie om mediekritik och mediemisstro. In L. Truedson (ed.), Migrationen i medierna: Men det får en väl inte prata om? (pp.113–149). Institutet för me-diestudier.

Holt, K. (2020). Right-Wing Alternative Media. Routledge.

Holt, K., Figenschou, T. & Frischlich L. (2019). Key dimensions of al-ternative news media. Digital Journalism 7(7), 860–869. DOI:10.1080/21670811.2019.1625715.

Ihlebæk, K. Figenschou, T. Eldridge II, S., Frischlich, L., Cushion, S. & Holt, K. (2022). Contesting the Mainstream: Understanding Alter-native News Media and Its Contribution to Diversity. Digital Journalism, 10(8), 1267-1282. DOI:10.1080/21670811.2022.2134165

Ihlebæk, K. & Nygaard, S. (2021): Right-wing alternative media in the Scandinavian political communication landscape. In E. Skogerbø, Ø. Ihlen, N. Kristensen & L. Nord (eds.), Power, communication, and politics in the Nordic countries (pp.263-282). Nordicom, Uni-versity of Gothenburg.

Kenix, L. (2011). Alternative and Mainstream Media: The Converging Spectrum. Bloomsbury Academic.

Klawier, T., Prochazka, F. & Schweiger, W. (2022). Comparing Frame Repertoires of Mainstream and Right-Wing Alternative Media. Digital Journalism. DOI:10.1080/21670811.2022.2048186

Mayerhöffer, E. (2021). How do Danish Right-wing Alternative Media Position Themselves Against the Mainstream? Advancing the Study of Alternative Media Structure and Content. Journalism Studies 22(2), 119-136. DOI:10.1080/1461670X.2020.1814846.

Mayerhöffer, E. & Heft, A. (2021). Between Journalistic and Movement Logic: Disentangling Referencing Practices of Right-Wing Alter-native Online News Media. Digital Journalism, DOI:10.1080/21670811.2021.1974915

Mayerhöffer, E. & Schwartz, S. (2020). Fake eller partisk? Hyperparti-ske onlinemedier i den danske valgkamp 2019. In S. Just & I. Guldbrandsen (eds.), Politisk kommunikation og digitale medier, (pp.201–223). Samfundslitteratur.

McDowell-Naylor, D., Cushion S. & Thomas, R. (2021): A typology of alternative online political media in the United Kingdom: A lon-gitudinal content analysis (2015–2018). Journalism 0(0), 1-21. DOI:10.1177/14648849211059585.

Müller, P. & Freudenthaler, R. (2022). Right-Wing, Populist, Controlled by Foreign Powers? Topic Diversification and Partisanship in the Content Structures of German-Language Alternative Media. Digi-tal Journalism, 10(8), 1363-1386. DOI:10.1080/21670811.2022.2058972.

Nygaard, S. 2019. The appearance of objectivity: How immigration-critical alternative media report the news. Journalism Practice 13(10), 1147–1163. DOI:10.1080/17512786.2019.1577697.

Rae, M. (2021). Hyperpartisan news: Rethinking the media for popu-list politics. new media & society 23(5), 1117–1132. DOI: 10.1177/1461444820910416.

Syvertsen, T., Enli, G., Mjøs, O & Moe H. (2014). The Media Welfare State: Nordic Media in the Digital Age. The University of Michigan Press.

von Nordheim, G. Müller, H. & Scheppe, M. (2019). Young, free and biased: A comparison of mainstream and right-wing media cover-age of the 2015–16 refugee crisis in German newspapers. Journal of Alternative and Community Media 4, 38–56. DOI: 10.1386/joacm_00042_1




How to Cite

Kroman Brems, M. (2023). From stark opposition to partial adaption: How 12 Danish alternative media construct and position themselves vis-à-vis the media- and political mainstream. Journalistica, 17(1), 141–165.