The Impact of Public Powered Journalism on Danish News Outlet

December 2023

4 min.

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Christian Hougaard
Chief Commercial Officer, Northern Europe

In early April of 2021, Danish news outlet TV2 Kosmopol introduced their new initiative “Spørg Os” (In English: “Ask Us”), which made use of the Hearken approach of Public Power Journalism. Since then, they have received more than 8,400 questions and their readers have voted more than 570,000 times.

Take a look at how their Public Powered Journalism approach increased user engagement and how it paved the way for new sources of articles.

TV2 Kosmopol mainly deals with events and news in the metropolitan area of Denmark, and their audience share their thoughts and wonders of daily life through their “Spørg Os” platform. As the numbers show, their audience have clearly taken a liking to the idea of being involved the journalistic process. 

Logo of "Valgfolkefest"

How do open mailboxes like “Spørg Os” work?

Every week, members of the audience submit their ideas for articles revolving themes that affect them in their daily lives or curiosities in the local area.

After collecting submissions, the editorial team select the 3 questions, that they like the most. These 3 ideas are then put through a round of public voting, which is integrated into their existing articles, shared on their social media platforms, and their website. The public are then invited to vote for the question, they find the most exciting.

After a week of voting, the most popular question is selected and passed on to the most relevant editoral team, who proceeds to research and provide an answer to the question. After the article is produced, it is distributed on all channels for all readers to enjoy.

As TV Kosmopol write on their own website: 

You ask, we answer.

Uncovering hidden stories in hectic times

By using Hearken’s tools and employing a Public Powered Journalism approach, TV2 Kosmopol were able to uncover stories that they otherwise would never have considered to cover. By taking advice from their readers, they were given information straight from the audience that would end up reading the articles. 

The “Spørg Os” initiative was introduced during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Denmark, and readers had an abundance of questions regarding everything from vaccines to social distancing. The majority of the questions that were received during the week were focused on COVID-19 topics, but readers were also curious about many other aspects of daily life in the local area. The common denominator for most of the questions – not only the COVID-19 related ones –  was that the editorial team would never have thought to write about those topics themselves. 

Furthermore, when the most popular question of the week was chosen, whoever posted the question often got extremely excited that they played a part in creating a journalistic piece. This shows that in addition to the editorial team gaining previously undiscovered insights, the readers also enjoy playing a part in the journalistic process.

“Thank you for taking on my question. This is the closest we’ll get to straightforward democracy”       – Anders N.  Vanløse

Hearken has previously spoken to the head of TV2 Kosmopol’s “Spørg Os”, who had great praise for this new journalistic approach:

“We want it to be more personal. When we worked with user questions before, the users would never be a part of the process. 

We involve the users much more when we do it this way, and it’s a great experience for us and for them.”

The most poplar article from the first 100 voting rounds. More than 12,600 readers voted during this round, with this particular question netting more than 6,400 votes.

Using the Public Powered Journalism to produce journalism relevant to the reader 


In the 2.5 years since the launch of “Spørg Os”, the editorial team has answered hundreds of questions and produced just as many articles. The topics of the articles would range from what causes the unique smell of second-hand clothes to why the size of parking spots has not grown with the current size of cars. 

These topics would seldom be found in other news media, but the numbers speak for themselves; the readers know best themselves what they want to read. The number 1 most popular article was read more than 240,000 times within 30 minutes of being published! It turns out the audience is more curious than you might think.

It’s so nice that you have looked into this, and that you function as a mouthpiece for the population like this.         Maja M.

This is a prime example of how you can integrate your audience into the journalistic process, and how you can utilize the knowledge that they bring. By engaging them in your journalism, you tap into a previously inaccessible source of insights, and you bolster the audience affiliation with your brand. It truly is a win-win.

Click here to read the full article from TV2 Kosmopol showcasing the top 10 articles that have resulted from “Spørg Os”.

If you want to get started on your Public Powered Journalism journey, don’t hesitate to reach out to Hearken. 

Public Powered Journalism

  • “Public Powered Journalism”, is at the center of the Hearken approach.
  • As opposed to traditional journalism, where news outlets dictate what new reaches the audience, the Hearken approach places the audience at the center.
  • By listening to what the audience wants to know about, news outlets can make sure to produce relevant and sought after articles.
  • By involving the audience in the entire journalistic process, news media can increase the audience’s affiliation and sense of belonging with their brand.