This article engages in an overview of existing studies on local institutions, particularly mainstream media and communication systems, in polarized, faction-ridden, and military-induced transition contexts. Using Zimbabwe as a case study, the article suggests ways of strengthening and building the resilience of local media institutions in the country as a step toward their transformation. It problematizes the institutional production practices, regulatory mechanisms, and journalism training cultures within a conflict-prone context. Also, it identifies media development strategies and practices for protecting the fourth estate from arbitrary manipulation by political and economic actors. Beyond the need to transcend factional or template journalism, the article suggests ways in which the media in Zimbabwe can be transformed, rather than remain complicit in party political factional battles that merely reproduce the status quo.