A key issue in the understanding of media organisations is their status in relation to the mainstream: they are either in the mainstream, independent of the mainstream or, rarely, alternative to the mainstream. While the mainstream is relatively easy to define, the concept of independence has many different facets. And although being alternative is often linked to independence it usually refers either to the way media conventions are broken, or to the values represented in the text (which would be in opposition to the dominant ideology). This chapter considers how independently produced texts, which may also be alternative in their make-up, relate to the mainstream and how those which are alternative in nature can cross over to the mainstream.
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