Constructive updates to your inbox:

The Constructive Newsletter

Sign up here

Lessons from local media elections

A democratic experiment in the lead up to the local Danish elections. Exploring ways that the news media, candidates and citizens can play a more constructive role in the election process.

Can a democratic election deal with ideas, visions and plan for a better future? Or do media attention and political focus in debates really need to find inspiration from boxing and warfare?

 

– Ulrik Haagerup, CEO, Constructive Institute


Previously Constructive Institute led a series of "Democracy Debates" bringing panels of journalists and politicians together to share their frustrations at the toxic cycle of media and politics and address the concerns of citizens. The Good Fight builds on these events.

The project has 3 key elements
  • Workshops for news reporters in each of the five regions of Denmark – key facts, voters’ views and tips and tricks on constructive election coverage.
  • Democratic bootcamps for all political candidates in Aarhus and Randers – how to debate difficult priorities in a constructive way.
  • Three major public debates with local news organisations Jyllands-Posten and Aarhus Stiftstidende and the Folkeuniversitetet – can the incentive structures in political debates be changed?

07.09.21 – KOLDING TOWN, SOUTHERN DENMARK

Workshop for regional newspaper JyskeVestkysten

The first “Good Fight” event started at the regional newspaper JyskeVestkysten in the town of Kolding where the editorial staff received a workshop on how to cover the upcoming local election in Denmark.

Henrik Wanscher from Danmarks Statistik presented the journalists with key facts about the Southern Danish region which are relevant for the upcoming election.

During this event, mayor candidate Villy Søvndal also offered  his insights on, and experiences of, the press and Editor-in-chief at JyskeVestkysten Kim Dahl Nielsen responded with his thoughts about politicians.

After these talks Ulrik Haagerup gave a presentation on how to use constructive journalism when covering the upcoming local election.

Former Danish secretary of State Villy Søvndal is now running for major in Kolding. In front of local reporters, invited by Contructive Institute, he said that “”media and politicians are engaged in a deadly dance towards Hell.”

09.09.21 – AALBORG TOWN, NORTH JUTLAND

Workshop for Det Nordjyske Mediehus

During the second workshop of our Good Fight project the editorial staff at Det Nordjyske Mediehus in Aalborg were prepared for covering the upcoming local election in Denmark constructively.

Henrik Wanscher from Danmarks Statistik presented facts about their region that are relevant for the upcoming election.

President of the Regional Council, Ulla Astman presented her thoughts on the news media. Afterwards Editor-in-Chief Karen Edelmann Keinicke responded with her view on local politicians in the area.

After these talks Constructive Institute CEO Ulrik Haagerup gave a presentation on how to use constructive journalism when covering the upcoming local election.

President of the regional council Ulla Astman presenting her views on newsmedia

13.09.21 – AARHUS, CENTRAL DENMARK REGION

Bootcamp for local political candidates

During this 7 hour long “Democratic Bootcamp” the local political candidates were presented with both former and present mayors.

The candidates received a welcome by mayor Jacob Bundsgaard, advice on political leadership from former mayor Louise Gade, self-knowledge from Jan Schouby, Editor-in-Chief of Aarhus based newspaper Stiftens, heard about the importance of facts by Danmarsk Statistik and received an appeal from the beloved Poul Krebs to remember courteous behavior during the election.

Constructive Institute presented the idea of constructive journalism and were humbled by the self-insight across party-lines. All felt that there was need for change within themselves as well as in politics.

Mayor of Aarhus Jacob Bundsgaard joined the democratic Bootcamp by welcoming the political candidates
Beloved Danish singer Poul Krebs performed in front of the candidates

14.09.21 – AARHUS, CENTRAL DENMARK REGION

Workshop for regional TV station TV2 Østjylland

On a sunny Tuesday the editorial staff of TV2 Østjylland in Aarhus received a workshop on how to cover the upcoming local election in Denmark.

Henrik Wanscher from Danmarks Statistik presented facts on their region that are relevant for the upcoming election as well as key data on the economy and healthcare.

Mayor of Norddjurs Commune, Jan Petersen gave a presentation on his thoughts about the media. Afterwards Dennis Kragelund the Editor-in-Chief of TV2 Østjylland responded with his thoughts on local politicians.

 

Mayor Jan Petersen from the municipality of Nord Djurs in a constructive conversation with editor-in-chief Jan Schouby from local media Aarhus Stiftstidende on news deserts and political journalism

21.09.21- SLAGELSE TOWN, ZEALAND REGION

Workshop for regional media company Sjællandske Medier

One of our Good Fight project workshops were hosted at regional news media Sjællandske Medier. The editorial staff were prepared for covering the upcoming local election in Denmark constructively.

Henrik Wanscher from Danmarks Statistik presented facts about their region that are relevant for the upcoming election.

Afterwards, mayor of Kalundborg and vice chairman of the regional council Martin Damm presented his thoughts on local news media.

After some interesting dialogues Constructive Institute CEO Ulrik Haagerup gave a presentation on how to use constructive journalism when covering the upcoming local election.

Many interesting points were made when mayor Martin Damm talked about his view on news media.

23.09.21 – COPENHAGEN, CAPITAL REGION OF DENMARK

Workshop for national daily newspaper Berlingske

Our final workshop for journalists was held in Copenhagen at the daily newspaper Berlingske. Bringing a total of reporters to over a 100.

One last time Henrik Wanscher from Danmarks Statistik presented facts about their region that are relevant for the upcoming election.

During this workshop chairman of the Regional Council in the Capital Region of Denmark Sophie Hæstorp Andersen explained her thoughts on the news media.

After some interesting dialogues Constructive Institute CEO Ulrik Haagerup gave a presentation on how to use constructive journalism when covering the upcoming local election.

Chairman of the Regional Council in the Capital Region of Denmark Sophie Hæstorp Andersen illuminated the reporters by explaining her views on news media.

28.09.21 – AARHUS, CENTRAL DENMARK REGION

Political debate in Aarhus

530 voters joined us in Rådhushallen in Aarhus to hear 10 brave, local candidates discuss the future of Aarhus.

After a warm welcome by Head of Folkeuniversitetet Sten Tiedemann and our CEO Ulrik Haagerup, the lovely danish singer Ann-Mette Elten started our evening with a song.

Afterwards our 10 candidates introduced themselves. With us were Mayor Jacob Bundsgaard from The Social Democratic Party, Christian Budde from The Liberal Party, Thomas Medom from The Socialist People’s Party, Steen Stavnsbo from The Conservative People’s party, Thure Hastrup from The Red-Green Alliance, Rabih Azad-Ahmad from Danish Social Liberal Party, Jakob Søgaard Clausen from Danish People’s Party, Jakob Rixen from Liberal Alliance, Henrik Arens from New Right and Jørn Grønkjær from The Alternative.

The discussed themes were chosen by the audience and they were able to ask questions and come up with solutions to Aarhus’ challenges of their own.

After a short coffee break singer Ann-Mette Elten sang “Hjem til Aarhus” – Home to Aarhus and the evening continued with themes chosen bu the audience. At the end of the night 92% of the participants thought the debate had been worth their time.

 

The political candidates discussed many topics such as supportive childcare, better old age and healthy city growth.
It was the audience who decided what topics were discussed and came up with solutions of their own.

05.10.21 – RANDERS, CENTRAL DENMARK REGION

Bootcamp for local political candidates

We held our final event of our Good Fight project in Randers. 

Local political candidates in Randers Municipality joined us at our democratic bootcamp, learning how to keep a sense of courtesy and constructive dialogue during the election and in their town council. 

Mayor of Randers Municipality Torben Hansen welcomed the participants and Danish singer Lars Lilholt entertained them with a song about participatory democracy. 

CEO of Constructive Institute Ulrik Haagerup introduced the local political candidates to constructive ways of communicating.
Danish singer Lars Lilholt entertained the participants with a song with an important message about democracy called "Sammenholdet er forbi" (solidarity is over).

Our Partners

Constructive Institute is partnering with a number of great organisations in order to realise this project. These include Local Government Denmark KL, The Danish National Statistical Office,  market research company Epinion and regional #dkmedia all over the country.

 


Research Insights on Danish news consumers

Constructive Institute comissioned Danish analytics company Epinion to conduct an independent and representative study on “news experiences and opinions” among more than 2000 Danish citizens.

Epinion Report