Facebook like thumb
Credit: Image by owenwbrown on Flickr. Some rights reserved
It is not quite X Factor, but Trinity Mirror's Daily Post is asking readers to vote on Facebook for the person they would most like to see interviewed by the outlet.

Helen Harper, head of audience and engagement at the Post, revealed she got the idea after being inspired by a session at February's news:rewired conference.

In the conversations with the audience session, Marjaana Toiminen, chief executive of Bonnier Publications, discussed the crowdsourcing strategy for OLivia magazine, where readers are asked who they would like to read about and what questions they would like to see asked.

"It was just completely inspiring," said Harper, "and I was so excited to try and give it a go myself.

"[Marjaana] talked about producing that magazine and handing over control to the readers, so I thought about how we could do it and decided on a Facebook vote."

Harper approached five people to take part, each from very different backgrounds. They are the Olympic Taekwondo gold medalist Jade Jones, former Wales scrum-half Rupert Moon, opera singer Rhys Meirion, the "tweeting farmer" Gareth Wyn Jones, and subject of a BBC2 Wales documentary and businessman Sean Taylor, owner of Zip World – the fastest and longest zip wire in Europe.

She then created a photo gallery on the Daily Post's Facebook Page – which has just over 13,800 fans – and asked people to vote by "liking" the image of the person they would like to see interviewed, as well as submit a question for them.

So far the poll, which launched on Monday evening, has had 277 'likes', at the time of writing, and 25 comments, including a mix of questions and additional votes. The album as a whole has also received an additional 27 'likes' and 28 comments.

Daily Post
Screengrab from facebook.com/dailypostwales

There have been some funny questions – one asks 'I vote for the guy on the right, I'd like to ask where he got his tie from' – as well as more serious ones.

Another person asks farmer Gareth Wyn Jones 'Are there enough hours in the day for you?' which, as Harper notes, "is quite a decent question".

"Somewhat ironically, us being in North Wales, the winner at present is the farmer," she added, who currently has 187 likes on his picture.

Harper is also extending the voting to Twitter, posting photographs of the potential interviewees and asking: "Which of these five would you like to interview and what would you ask them?"

Votes will be open for a week, after which point the person with the most "likes" will be interviewed for a piece to appear in the Daily Post newspaper and online at dailypost.co.uk.

Although Harper wants the feature to have "as much engagement as possible," she notes the interviewer may need "to take back a little journalistic control" and ask a mix of their own questions and those submitted via the Facebook page.

"It is all about the audience engagement, but we are keeping an eye on it," she said. "If there is a question we need to throw in, we will do."

Harper is please with the response from the poll so far, and sees it as something that could be an ongoing feature and perhaps extended to other sites within the Trinity Mirror group.

"But this is an experiment really," she said, "for us to see how it works, how it can be tweaked, and how we can develop it for the future."

Free daily newsletter

If you like our news and feature articles, you can sign up to receive our free daily (Mon-Fri) email newsletter (mobile friendly).