Local Media for Democracy — country focus: Denmark

Sandra Simonsen, Department of Media and Journalism Studies, Aarhus University


In the 2022-2025 Media Agreement,[1] the Danish government acknowledges the growing issue of local news decline. To address this, funding is redirected from national news outlets to local media. Despite this initiative, there is a lack of substantial debate among politicians, journalists, and intellectuals regarding the current state and future of local journalism and the potential risks of news deserts. However, a 2021 report “Det Sander Til: Sådan undgår vi Nyhedsørkener i Danmark”[2] (How To Avoid News Deserts in Denmark), by journalist Anders C. Østerby indicates that while news deserts are not yet prevalent in Denmark, there is a discernible trend in that direction in some regions, signalling a cause for concern. Despite efforts to address the question of news deserts, the issue has not gained significant attention in the public debate or Danish media research beyond Østerby’s report. The research that forms the basis of this report is overall consistent with the findings of Østerby.

In a Danish context, local media refers to outlets serving specific geographic areas, encompassing print newspapers, online platforms, radio, television, and social media. These outlets focus on providing relevant news, information, and entertainment tailored to local communities. Community media, owned or operated by specific communities, serves the interests and needs of distinct groups, manifesting in various forms such as print and online news, radio, television, podcasts, and social media.

Examining the correlation between potential news deserts,[3] economic performance,[4] and internet penetration,[5] there is no apparent link between news deserts and regions experiencing lower economic performance. Similarly, no connection is observed between news deserts and reduced internet access in these areas. This lack of correlation emphasises the intricate interplay of factors influencing news deserts, economic well-being, and internet availability, underscoring the need for nuanced considerations when addressing information gaps, economic disparities, and digital connectivity in diverse regions.

[1] Danish Ministry of Culture, The Danish Media Agreement 2022 – 2025, 2022, https://kum.dk/fileadmin/_kum/2_Kulturomraader/Medier/medieaftaler/2022-2025/Medieaftale_for_2022-2025_Den_demokratiske_samtale_skal_styrkes_21maj.pdf.

[2] A. C. Østerby, Det Sander Til: Sådan undgår vi nyhedsørkener i Danmark, 2021, https://www.sdu.dk/da/om_sdu/institutter_centre/c_journalistik/om-center-for-journalistik/fyens-stiftstidendes-fellowship/2020.

[3] A.C. Østerby, 2021

[4] Statistics Denmark, Regionalfordelt nationalregnskab, 2021, https://www.dst.dk/da/Statistik/emner/oekonomi/nationalregnskab/regionalfordelt-nationalregnskab.

[5] Agency for Data supply and Infrastructure,2022, https://sdfi.dk/digital-infrastruktur/tal-paa-teleomraadet.

Main findings

Granularity of infrastructure of local media – Low risk (25%)

In Denmark, both rural and suburban areas are well-served by local media outlets, primarily consisting of privately-owned local newspapers in print and online formats. National public service media, such as The Danish Broadcasting Corporation[1] and TV2,[2] also contribute to local coverage through departments focusing on smaller regions. Local media in rural areas, according to Østerby’s 2021 report, is generally thriving, with no evidence of actual news deserts. Suburban areas primarily rely on privately-owned local newspapers, complemented by national public service media outlets with local branches, ensuring comprehensive coverage.

However, despite this overall positive outlook, there are concerning trends in the decline of local newsrooms. In October 2023, Jysk Fynske Medier (JFM), the second largest privately owned media group in Denmark, opted to shut down 11 out of its 53 weekly newspapers in response to challenges in the advertising market. The decision, however, will not lead to any layoffs among the commercial or editorial staff.[3] Over a decade, from 2010 to 2020, there was a 24% reduction in local newsrooms, with the largest decline observed in Central Jutland. Additionally, the number of local journalists has decreased, reflecting a broader national trend in the decline of written news and current affairs media employees. Moreover, in 2010, there were 111 newsrooms distributed over 24 different local, daily newspapers. Ten years later, in 2020, there were a total of 84 newsrooms spread over 22 daily newspapers. This is a decrease of 27 local newsrooms or 24 percent. In other words, almost every fourth local newsroom has closed during the last 10 years. The Central Jutland region has gone from having 35 newsrooms in 2010 to 23 in 2020. 12 newsrooms have disappeared, which is the biggest drop in absolute numbers, corresponding to 34 percent of the region’s daily newsrooms.[4]

Furthermore, there are generally fewer local journalists to cover the same geographical areas compared to previous years. According to The Danish Agency for Culture and Palaces,[5] the media companies that primarily publish regional and local written news and current affairs employed 3,557 full-time employees in the first half of 2019, 618 fewer than in the first half of 2016, corresponding to a decline of 15 percent.[6]

The PSM is required by the legal framework to keep local correspondents or branches, and the provision is implemented in practice, in all the country’s provinces and on a consistent level of geographical granularity. The public service institutions, Danish Broadcasting Cooperation and TV2, are required by their legal framework to provide local and regional coverage for “the entire country”[7] according to the Act on radio and television business. In practice, their geographical distribution is considered adequate and sufficient, and these outlets do not rely on material obtained from news agencies. The main news agency has its only venue and all its workers based in the capital city; local areas are covered by sending correspondents on the ground only in the case of exceptional events taking place. The main news agency in Denmark, Ritzaus Bureau, does not have local or regional correspondents or branches on the ground.[8] The variable measuring this issue obtained a high-risk assessment.

The map you can find at the following link refers to  the number of local and regional newspapers in Denmark in 2021. The original data for this visualisation was obtained from Anders C. Østerby’s report:Det Sander Til. Sådan Undgår vi Nyhedsørkner i Danmark,Syddansk Universitet (2021)  and you can access it here

[1] Danish Broadcasting Cooperation, DR: DR’s hovedadresser og telefonnumre, 2023, https://www.dr.dk/om-dr/drs-hovedadresser-og-telefonnumre

[2] TV2, Her finder du indholdet fra TV 2s regioner, 2023, https://play.kundeservice.tv2.dk/hc/da/articles/6351435812881-Her-finder-du-indholdet-fra-TV-2s-regioner-p%C3%A5-TV-2-Play.

[3] Media Watch, JFM lukker 11 ugeaviser og sparer etcifret millionbeløb,

2023, https://mediawatch.dk/Medienyt/Aviser/article16547222.ece.

[4] A. C. Østerby, 2021. Det Sander Til: Sådan undgår vi nyhedsørkener i Danmark. p. 14.

[5] The Danish Agency for Culture and Palaces provides professional advice to the Minister of Culture and contributes to the implementation of the government’s objectives in the field of culture.

[6]Agency for Culture and Palaces, Mediernes udvikling i Danmark. Medievirksomheders beskæftigelse, 2020, p. 26,  https://kum.dk/fileadmin/_mediernesudvikling/2020/Medievirksomheders_beskaeftigelse.pdf

[7] Danish Ministry of Culture, 2022. Act on radio and television business, 2002/1 LSF 40, Chapters 3, 4, and 6, https://www.retsinformation.dk/eli/ft/200212L00040

[8] Ritzau, Redaktioner, 2023, https://ritzau.com/redaktioner/

Market and reach – Low risk (38%)

In recent years, Denmark has witnessed stability or a slight decrease in local and community media revenue, aligning with the overall economic trends in the country.[1] Ministry of Culture data[2] reveal a decline in local media revenues from 2016 to 2019, particularly in written news and current affairs media, as well as magazines and weekly newspapers. Revenues have decreased particularly for written news and current affairs media (with -784 million DKK, -105,10 million €) and magazines and weekly newspapers (- 225 million DKK, – 30,16 million €).

The media agreement for 2019-2023 has increased subsidies for non-commercial local radio and TV, reaching DKK 45.8 million annually, up from DKK 43.8 million in the previous agreement.[3] Despite a rise in closures of local media outlets in certain sectors, this has been balanced by growth in other sectors, particularly online outlets.

Between 2010 and 2020 there has been a significant reduction in local editorial offices for daily newspapers, with a 24% decrease in newsrooms. Notably, local TV and radio outlets, being largely under public service media and subsidised, have not experienced the same decline as local newspapers. The most affected region is Central Jutland. Despite these challenges, the supply distribution chain generally serves the local media market well, with stable points of sale, distribution companies, and workers. The closure or merging of 80 local weekly newspapers since 2018 is partly due to acquisitions and mergers.[4] However, this has not resulted in a complete loss of coverage, as some publications have continued in different forms. Moreover, positive developments include the emergence of eight new local weekly newspapers and 63 new local web media since 2018, particularly initiated by smaller and newer publishers.[5]

The variable measuring ownership concentration, however, received a high-risk score, as there are areas where a range of major media outlets own local media outlets. A case of example is Jyllands-Postens Lokalaviser A/S is a Danish newspaper publisher based in Aarhus that publishes 12 local newspapers in East Jutland. Also, in terms of local TV news, the ownership concentration is high, as the only providers of local news are the Danish Broadcasting Corporation and TV2 which has local branches.

Although there has been a net decrease of 57 local weekly newspapers in the past three years, the emergence of new web media and government support, as outlined in the 2022-2025 Media Agreement, suggests a nuanced landscape. Stability in the number of publishers, distributors, and retailers, along with favourable government support and business conditions, contributes to sustaining local media outlets. The government’s financial backing, including a pool for promoting local journalism and increased subsidies, indicates recognition of the crucial role played by local media in citizen engagement and local democracy. While commercial advertising revenue has declined, mainly affecting print media, government support ensures stability and viability for local media outlets.

In some media sectors, however, there is a very low percentage of people who are willing to pay for local news.[6] [7] In fact, the variable measuring whether audiences are willing to pay for local news, obtained a high-risk assessment. While local news on TV and radio is heavily subsidised by the state through the public service institutions, and since there is no public criticism or even debate regarding these issues, it can be argued that many people are indeed willing to pay for local news through taxes. Most people do expect written journalism (print as well as digital) to be freely available and financed through advertising, they are not willing to pay via subscription-based models, pay-per-article models, newsstand sales, voluntary donations, crowdfunding, or other methods.[8]

[1] Lange, Bureauer forventer lokalavisers annoncesalg vil falde yderligere i år, 2023. https://mediawatch.dk/Medienyt/article15189341.ece

[2] Danish Ministry of Culture, Mediernes Udvikling, 2021, https://kum.dk/fileadmin/_mediernesudvikling/2021/Omsaetning_og_beskaeftigelse_i_danske_medievirksomheder_-_Hovedkonklusioner.pdf

[3] Danish Ministry of Culture, The Danish Media Agreement 2022 – 2025, 2023, https://kum.dk/fileadmin/_kum/2_Kulturomraader/Medier/medieaftaler/2022-2025/Medieaftale_for_2022-2025_Den_demokratiske_samtale_skal_styrkes_21maj.pdf

[4] P. Fahlström, Analyse: Hvad sker der egentlig på markedet for lokale medier? 2020, https://www.medietrends.dk/2020/05/12/analyse-hvad-sker-der-egentlig-paa-markedet-for-lokale-medier/.  .

[5] ibid.

[6] Statistics Denmark, Statistikdokumentation for Kulturvaneundersøgelsen 2021, 2022, https://www.dst.dk/da/Statistik/dokumentation/statistikdokumentation/kulturvaneundersoegelsen.

[7] A. Andreassen, Medieforsker: Danskere tror, journalistik skal være gratis 2020, https://journalisten.dk/medieforsker-danskere-tror-journalistik-skal-vaere-gratis/.

[8] M. Mikkelsen, Stor generationskløft: Danske unge vil ikke betale for nyheder, 2022, https://www.kristeligt-dagblad.dk/kultur/stor-generationskloeft-danske-unge-vil-ikke-betale-nyheder.

Safety of local journalists Very low risk (17%)

In Denmark, journalists working for local media outlets benefit from excellent working conditions, supported by robust labour and social security legislation that ensures minimum pay rates, efficient representation through journalists’ unions, and regulations governing both open-ended and temporary contracts.[1] The termination of contractual relationships, including dismissal procedures, is governed by legislation, and provision for unemployment benefits and maternity or parental leave contributes to a favourable working environment.[2] The average pay for journalists in local media outlets is comparatively high in comparison to other European countries.[3] The employment protection afforded by unions and social security benefits in the event of unemployment enhances the overall social conditions of their work. For freelancers or self-employed journalists, remuneration aligns with the country’s average salary, and they are entitled to certain labour and social security protections, including unemployment and pension schemes. The salaries of freelance journalists are generally consistent with those in permanent employment, and freelancers enjoy access to social security protection.[4]

Despite an incident in 2022 involving a local journalist, where a bucket of water was thrown, direct physical attacks on local journalists have been rare and perpetrators prosecuted.[5] However, there is a growing trend in online threats against journalists, as indicated in the Danish Association of Journalists’ survey,[6] though the survey does not distinguish between local and national journalists.

While journalists’ organisations are not much present at the local level, those at the national level effectively ensure editorial independence and uphold professional standards at the local level. Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP) cases are infrequent, and the existing anti-SLAPP legal framework is deemed effective. While SLAPP cases against local journalists in Denmark are rare, there is recognition that this trend requires attention.[7] Initiatives are underway to implement the European Union’s anti-SLAPP directive into Danish legislation.[8]

[1] K. C. Schrøder, M. Blach-Ørsten and M. K. Eberhols, Reuters Institute Digital News Report: Denmark,2022, https://reutersinstitute.politics.ox.ac.uk/digital-news-report/2022/denmark.

[2] Danish Association of Journalists, Overenskomst, 2023, https://journalistforbundet.dk/arbejdsplads/konsulentklubben-i-dansk-journalistforbund.

[3] Journalisten.dk,  A. S. Jørgensen, Se tallene: Her tjener DJ’s medlemmer mest og mindst, 2021, https://journalisten.dk/se-tallene-her-tjener-djs-medlemmer-mest-og-mindst/

[4] Danish Association of Journalists, Overenskomst, 2023, https://journalistforbundet.dk/arbejdsplads/konsulentklubben-i-dansk-journalistforbund.

[5] Ritzau, Par kastede en spand vand i hovedet på journalist, 2022,  https://nyheder.tv2.dk/krimi/2022-06-22-par-kastede-en-spand-vand-i-hovedet-pa-journalist

[6]R.S. Jørgensen, FN-rapport: Tre fjerdedele af kvindelige journalister bliver chikaneret, 2021, https://journalisten.dk/fn-rapport-tre-fjerdedel-af-kvindelige-journalister-bliver-chikaneret/

[7] B. Larsen, SLAPP snude, journalisten er ude, 2022, https://kforum.dk/article197510k.ece

[8] The Danish Parliament, Europaudvalget, 2023, https://www.ft.dk/samling/20222/udvda/EUU/20222_EUU_M1916523.pdf

Editorial independence – Very low risk (19%)

The indicator Editorial independence scores a very low risk of 19%. Although there is no law explicitly prohibiting partisan control of local media through ownership means, no instances exist of politicians, political parties, or partisan groups owning major local or domestic media companies.[1] Initially, the Danish press operated as a politically aligned party-press, but it has evolved to become politically independent, with an emphasis on media subscribing to various ideologies (omnibus).

State subsidies, both direct and indirect, are distributed to private local media outlets in a fair and transparent manner. Clearly defined criteria ensure equitable distribution, fostering a business environment that is supportive towards local media operations.[2] Private local media outlets receiving state subsidies are annually disclosed in the Media Council’s report.[3] At the same time, state advertising is not regulated, and it is not possible to locate any criteria when it comes to its distribution.

Editorial content in local media is independent from commercial influence in practice. Laws and self-regulatory instruments effectively prevent media owners and commercial entities from exerting undue influence. The Danish Press Council, through its Code of Conduct (Presseetiske Regler), emphasises the importance of truthfulness and societal relevance in journalistic reporting.[4] While these guidelines do not explicitly address commercial influence, the integrity of journalists is considered crucial, with social sanctions, such as reputational damage, acting as deterrents.

Hidden advertising is prohibited under the Law of Advertisement no. 58 of 20 January 2012[5] (Markedsføringsloven). Both the law and the Consumer Ombudsman guidelines mandate that advertisements be clearly perceived as such, irrespective of their form or medium. The Ombudsman’s self-regulatory scheme ensures a clear separation between editorial and commercial activities, with effective implementation and potential fines for non-compliance.[6]

Editorial content in local media overall remains independent from political influences. While there is no explicit legislation ensuring political independence, democratic culture, media norms, and non-explicit state rules guide the local media’s autonomy, and no public cases could be found when it comes to a vast range of potential sources of influence. The media authority, comprising The Radio and Television Board and the Media Board, has a remit over local media, acts independently and can sanction transgressions, reinforcing editorial independence.

PSM’s local branches are also independent, with transparent appointment procedures and no known instances of political interference. The law mandates the inclusion of political views on the board but does not compromise editorial autonomy (Radio and TV Act, §16).[7] In 2023, the Radio and Television Board strengthened its efforts with regards to local radio and television stations, despite already intensified efforts.[8]

With regards to the diversity of content in local media, according to the most comprehensive empirical analysis in recent years,[9] topics in local news media are rather diverse:  crime, emergencies and risks, health, education, transport, environment and planning, economy, civil society politics, sport, demography, consumption and lifestyle and more. Research shows almost a third of the articles and features are about civil society, which includes private institutions, associations (not competitive sports), libraries, culture and art, religious institutions, and media. Economic and political topics are furthermore well represented on the local media agenda according to this research study. However, in recent years there are indications that the decrease in financial resources is resulting in less critical journalism[10] and investigative journalism.[11]

[1]Freedom House, Freedom in the World: Denmark, 2022, https://freedomhouse.org/country/denmark/freedom-world/2022 

[2] Danish Ministry of Culture,  Lov om Mediestøtte, 2013, https://www.retsinformation.dk/eli/lta/2013/1604#:~:text=LOV  nr 1604 af 26/12/2013,-Kulturministeriet&text=§ 1.,5, som projektstøtte, jf;

Danish Ministry of Culture,   Medieaftale for 2022-2025: Den demokratiske samtale skal styrkes, 2022, https://kum.dk/fileadmin/_kum/2_Kulturomraader/Medier/medieaftaler/2022-2025/Medieaftale_for_2022-2025_Den_demokratiske_samtale_skal_styrkes_21maj.pdf

[3]Medienævnet. Medienævnets årsrapport 2022, 2023, https://slks.dk/fileadmin/user_upload/SLKS/Omraader/Medier/Medienaevnets_aarsrapporter/Medienaevnets_a__rsrapport_2022.pdf

[4] The Danish Press Council, N.d. Press Code of Conduct, revised 2013, https://www.pressenaevnet.dk/press-ethical-rules/

[5]Ministry of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs, Act of Advertisement no. 58 of 20. januar 2012, https://www.retsinformation.dk/eli/lta/2013/1216

[6]The Ombudsman, N.d. The Ombudman’s Guidelines for Advertisement, https://www.forbrugerombudsmanden.dk/media/49158/vejledning-reklameidentifikation.pdf

[7] The Ministry of Culture, Bekendtgørelse af lov om radio- og fjernsynsvirksomhed, 2020, https://www.retsinformation.dk/eli/lta/2020/1350.

[8] K. Høivang, Nævn styrker særlig indsats mod lokale radio- og tv-stationer, 2023, https://mediawatch.dk/Medienyt/article16282666.ece.

[9] F. Svith, P. Jacobsen, S. Rasmussen, L. J. Linaa Jensen, and H.  Andersen,

 Lokal- og regionalmediers indhold, rolle og betydning i lokalområder, 2017.

[10]J. Albrecht and K. Bruun-Hansen, Den kritiske lokaljournalistik er under pres – her er Joy Mogensens forslag til en løsning, 2021, https://journalisten.dk/den-kritiske-lokaljournalistik-er-under-pres-her-er-joy-mogensens-forslag-til-en-loesning/.

[11] D.Hansen, Hvorfor laver lokale medier ikke mere undersøgende journalistik?, 2022, https://www.dmjx.dk/aktuelt/forsknings-og-udviklingsprojekt/hvorfor-laver-lokale-medier-ikke-mere-undersoegende.

Social inclusiveness – Low risk (36%)

The public service media, the Danish Broadcasting Cooperation, is obligated to provide news in Greenlandic, a minority language, per their public service contract.[1] However, there is no corresponding obligation to provide news in Arabic for another minority group, Muslim Arabs. Private media outlets rarely offer news services in minority languages, with the exception of Nabd el Danmark, an Arabic-Danish newspaper.[2]  In fact, the variable that measures this issue obtained a high-risk assessment.

With regards to representation of minorities in PSM, in 2022, Roskilde University Lecturer Hanne Jørndrup found that while migrants constitute 14% of Denmark’s population, they contribute to only 3.5% of news sources.[3] However, the study’s scope suggests it is somewhat indicative rather than representative of Denmark’s media landscape. However, Dr. Mehmet Ümit Necef expressed scepticism about such studies.[4] He argues that assumptions about minority discrimination may influence research design and findings. Dr. Necef, though not having read the specific report, emphasises the need for distinguishing the relative importance of sources in quantitative studies. Private media coverage of minorities tends to be factual-based and fair. E.g. Simonsen’s PhD project found that news representation of migrants in Danish media aligns with certain socioeconomic trends, resulting in mainly factual-based and fair coverage.[5]

Prominent media outlets, including The Danish Broadcasting Corporation, are producing content for specific social groups. Since the 80s, they have produced quality content for youth, a part of their public service contract, covering topics like music, lifestyle, and dating. TV Glad, an example of a community media outlet by and for people with disabilities, covers topics like lifestyle, love, fashion, politics, gaming, and personal relationships.

Research suggests that local media meet some critical information needs, covering topics like education, health, public transport, voting procedures, budget issues, and infrastructure.[6] However, there is room for improvement, with experts emphasising the need for more critical and investigative journalism.[7] However, local and community media are noted for successfully connecting with their audience and conducting meaningful audience studies. Ejvind Hansen, lecturer in media philosophy at the Danish School of Media and Journalism, writes about the embeddedness of local journalists “living” in the local community, which gives access to completely different types of stories.[8] In general, Danish culture is characterised by high levels of trust and social solidarity, which is reflected in the relationship between local journalists and their local communities. According to a recent survey, local media outlets would be missed in all parts of the country. Overall, two out of three respondents would miss their local media outlet, but this varies in different parts of the country. 69% of Copenhageners would miss their local newspaper or its website, while the same applies to a full 75% of the people of North Jutland.[9]

[1]The Danish Broadcasting Cooperation, DR’s PUBLIC SERVICE-KONTRAKT FOR 2019-2023, 2019, https://www.regeringen.dk/media/5684/dr_s_public_service-kontrakt_for_2019-2023.pdf

[2] A. Bidstrup, Arabisk avis hitter i Danmark: Over 100.000 besøgende i oktober, 2020, https://navisen.dk/blog/arabisk-avis-hitter-i-danmark-over-100-000-besoegende-i-oktober/

[3]H. Jørndrup, Dem vi stadig taler om: Etniske minoriteter i danske nyhedsmedier, 2022, Roskilde Universitet, https://rucforsk.ruc.dk/ws/portalfiles/portal/80823620/RapportMEDbilagsrapport_1_.pdf

[4] S. Simonsen, Monitoring media pluralism in the digital era: application of the media pluralism monitor in the European Union, Albania, Montenegro, the Republic of North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey in the year 2022. Country report: Denmark, EUI, RSC, Research Project Report, Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom (CMPF), 2023, p. 24,  https://hdl.handle.net/1814/75719.

[5]S. Simonsen, Media Securitization: How National Media Cover Migration and its Empirical Conditions, 2022,The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, https://scholar.google.com/citations?view_op=view_citation&hl=en&user=TIBx7DkAAAAJ&citation_for_view=TIBx7DkAAAAJ:Y0pCki6q_DkC.

[6] F. Svith, P. Jacobsen, S. Rasmussen, L. J. Linaa Jensen, and H.  Andersen, Lokal- og regionalmediers indhold, rolle og betydning i lokalområder, 2017.

[7] J. Albrecht and K. Bruun-Hansen, Den kritiske lokaljournalistik er under pres – her er Joy Mogensens forslag til en løsning, 2021, https://journalisten.dk/den-kritiske-lokaljournalistik-er-under-pres-her-er-joy-mogensens-forslag-til-en-loesning/.

[8] E. Hansen, Den fjerde statsmagt, 2019,  http://offentligheder.dk/at-vaere-et-landsdaekkende-medie-forudsaetter-aegte-lokal-journalistik/.

[9]Association of Danish Media, Danskernes brug af nyhedsmedier: Stabil tillid og stigende betalingsvillighed, 2020, https://danskemedier.dk/aktuelt/analyse-og-trends/danskernes-brug-af-nyhedsmedier-stabil-tillid-og-stigende-betalingsvillighed/.

Best practices and open public sphere

News media organisations are exploring innovative strategies to enhance reach and audience engagement by introducing new forms of work, journalistic products, and services. The MediaTrends report, conducted by the Danish Association of Journalists, The Danish School of Media and Journalism, and the Association of Danish Media,[1] highlights the transformation of media organisations and the emergence of numerous micro-media outlets facilitated by the cost-effectiveness of creating online platforms and modest endorsements from users. Platforms such as Substack and Revue empower journalists to operate independently. Diversification of revenue sources includes paywalls, subscribers paying self-defined fees, increased microcasting due to new social media laws, membership events, commercial partnerships, product placements, redefined traditional sponsorships, and altering formats, including less frequent publishing to enhance exclusivity and perceived value. While citizen and civil society initiatives are limited in number, there are noteworthy efforts. AarhusVest.dk, a news site initiated by local citizens in Aarhus, primarily focuses on event information and local business advertisements, lacking in-depth news content.

Moreover, the media landscape sees a new centre for investigative local journalism established with funds from the Media Agreement. A dedicated sum of 15 million DKK allocated to the Danish School of Media and Journalism for 2023-2025 aims to strengthen local media by assisting them in investigating suspicions of scandals and addressing corruption, errors, and failures in the local community. This initiative is part of broader efforts to enhance the journalistic resources available to local and regional media.[2] 

[1] Birkemose, MediaTrends, 2021,  https://www.medietrends.dk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/MEDIETRENDS-2021-PRINTVENLIG.pdf.

[2] D. Hansen, DMJX får center for graverjournalistik, 2022,  https://www.dmjx.dk/aktuelt/nyhed/dmjx-faar-center-graverjournalistik

Map of Local and Regional Newspapers in Denmark

This map shows the number of local and regional newspapers in Denmark in 2021, which can be filtered by hovering over a specific region. Clicking on a specific region provides a detailed list of media outlets in the table below the map. The data for this visualization was obtained from Anders C. Østerby’s Report: Det Sander Til. Sådan Undgår vi Nyhedsørkner i Danmark, Syddansk Universitet (2021),  and can be accessed by clicking here.