Academics have paid little attention to the practice of journalism at free newspapers since the free daily press emerged in 1995. A few studies have looked at the contents of free newspapers but not at the way journalism is practiced at free newspapers and whether these practices are different from journalistic work routines in the paid press. This article addresses that gap with a case study of the Danish free newspaper Metroxpress. After identifying the economic, political and digital forces shaping the contents at Metroxpress, the article maps the newspaper’s news net, analyse efforts put into newsgathering and compare them to the newsgathering efforts of other Danish news brands. Findings indicate that while the news net is smaller than those of other Danish newspapers, journalists at Metroxpress have similar work routines to other journalists, and their work is routinely recognised by peers in the form of quotations and nominations for professional awards.