Between Journalistic and Movement Logic: Disentangling Referencing Practices of Right-wing Alternative Online News Media

Eva Mayerhöffer, Annett Heft

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


The article analyzes the in-article referencing practices of right-wing alternative online news media. It distinguishes between a journalistic logic, in which referencing practices follow established journalistic ways of ensuring facticity and context, and a movement logic, in which references are used to obtain political, movement-oriented goals of dismissing opponents, supporting your allies, multiplying forces and building a community. Based on a manual quantitative content analysis of more than 4,500 references extracted from 1,000 randomly selected articles by 20 right-wing alternative news media from six countries (US, UK, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Denmark), the article shows that alternative news media predominantly follow a journalistic logic in their referencing practices, though at the expense of a limited originality of sources. Despite their anti-mainstream ambition, alternative news media frequently refer to mainstream media, but only rarely dismiss or re-frame content published by these media. The article discusses these practices as an expression of the hybrid nature of alternative news media situated at the boundary between journalism and political activism. Moreover, it addresses broader implications for the relationship between alternative and mainstream journalistic practice in the digital realm.
TidsskriftDigital Journalism
Udgave nummer8
Sider (fra-til)1409-1430
Antal sider22
StatusUdgivet - 2022


  • Alternative media
  • hyperlinking
  • movement media
  • re-contextualization
  • referencing practices
  • right-wing media

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