Strangers to the game? Interlopers, intralopers, and shifting news production

Avery E. Holton, Valerie Belair-Gagnon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


The contours of journalistic practice have evolved substantially since the emergence of the world wide web to include those who were once strangers to the profession. Amateur journalists, bloggers, mobile app designers, programmers, web analytics managers, and others have become part of journalism, influencing the process of journalism from news production to distribution. These technology-oriented strangers—those who have not belonged to traditional journalism practice but have imported their qualities and work into it—are increasingly taking part in journalism, whether welcomed by journalists or shunned as interlopers. Yet, the labels that keep them at journalism’s periphery risk conflating them with much larger groups who are not always adding to the news process (e.g., bloggers, microbloggers) or generalizing them as insid-ers/outsiders. In this essay, we consider studies that have addressed the roles of journalistic strangers and argue that by delineating differences among these strangers and seeking representative categorizations of who they are, a more holistic understanding of their impact on news production, and journalism broadly, can be advanced. Considering the norms and practices of journalism as increasingly fluid and open to new actors, we offer categorizations of journalistic strangers as explicit and implicit interlopers as well as intralopers. In working to understand these strangers as innovators and disrup-tors of news production, we begin to unpack how they are collectively contributing to an increasingly un-institutionalized meaning of news while also suggesting a research agenda that gives definition to the various strangers who may be influencing news production and distribution and the organizational field of journalism more broadly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)70-78
Number of pages9
JournalMedia and Communication
Issue number4 NewsandParticipationthroughandbeyondProprietary
StatePublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 by the authors; licensee Cogitatio (Lisbon, Portugal).


  • Digital news
  • Innovation
  • Interloper
  • Intraloper
  • Journalism
  • Media
  • News production
  • Strangers


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