Boardroom to Newsroom: The construction of news in a small polarised media system

Hillman, Adrian C.. 2021. Boardroom to Newsroom: The construction of news in a small polarised media system. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This thesis considers Malta, part of the understudied subject area of small states, and
outlines a media system which is the product of a micro economy and unique societal culture.
Taking a case-study approach, three news organisations are examined to understand the
editorial routines, ownership and management structures, and social and cultural factors that
affect the day-to-day business of creating news. To establish the fit between what is asserted
by staff and what is actually taking place in the news-generation process, in-depth interviews
with key stakeholders of each organisation are conducted alongside qualitative textual analysis
of the content they publish.

Contrary to previous research, we find advocacy continues to dominate Maltese
journalism, indicating that the country has retained similarities to other media systems within
its geographic region. However, this advocacy presents in different ways, influencing the
nature of each organisation’s respective reporting and reflecting individual workplace cultures,
routines and ownership structures, as well as constituting a response to the politically involved
society in which they operate. This conflicts with the ideal typification advanced by Hallin and

The findings highlight the merits of the Maltese tradition – found wanting in the US
objectivity canon. In this small state, journalistic advocacy extends media diversity and
contributes to the high level of political engagement among its population.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


polarisation; advocacy; news; objectivity; Malta

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


30 June 2021

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

12 Aug 2021 12:46

Last Modified:

07 Sep 2022 17:19


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