At Alma Media, responsible content production is called brainprint. The term was launched by the WWF in 2005. In recent years, Alma Media has worked to introduce the Finnish equivalent of the term (‘ajatusjälki’) in the Finnish language and in the debate on the responsibility of the media industry. Several times in recent years, Alma Media has participated in the Mirrors or Movers seminar held in London. The main themes of the seminar include questions related to measuring the brainprint of media; equality issues; media’s ability to influence people’s environmental attitudes; and the data security of users of media content.
Alma Media as a responsible influencer in society
Taking the brainprint of media into account in content production and journalism each day constitutes an important part of Alma Media’s responsible business. One way to evaluate the success of Alma Media’s papers is to monitor changes in the number of Council for Mass Media (CMM) decisions concerning Alma Media. Council for Mass Media (CMM) decisions, reader feedback, reader panels and requests for corrections are all metrics for reliability and responsible journalism.
Alma Media papers discuss CMM decisions at newspaper level, led by the Editor-in-Chief, and develop their operations accordingly.
In 2015, the Council for Mass Media issued a total of 86 decisions on matters such as corrections and surreptitious advertising. Of these decisions, 11 pertained to Alma Media’s various media. Of the decisions pertaining to Alma Media, 36 per cent were condemnatory. The overall rate for condemnatory decisions by the Council last year was 48 per cent.
Read more at: Sustainable media and brainprint.
Another way to evaluate how well Alma Media's newspapers succeed as creators of a responsible brainprint are recognitions granted to Alma Media by external parties.
In 2015, the Finnish Newspapers Association selected Raahen Seutu as the best local newspaper in the small editorial team (1–9 people) category. The jury noted that the newspaper offered a comprehensive analysis of the result of the Finnish parliamentary elections from the local perspective. Raahen Seutu is a professionally produced newspaper that communicates various topics in an incisive and accurate manner. The Association of Editors-in-Chief of Finnish Local Papers selected Tiina Nousiainen of the Lounais-Lappi town paper as Editor-in-Chief of the Year at an event organised by the Finnish Newspapers Association in November 2015.
Tabloids have been criticised for misleading headlines and clickbaiting. In 2015, Iltalehti launched an initiative to develop its headline writing based on cooperation with a reader panel as well as internal feedback from the editorial team. The Klikinsäästäjä (‘Click Saver’) community on Facebook is also a key contributor. The effort has produced a concrete improvement in Iltalehti’s headlines, making them clearer and expressing the gist of the matter to the reader instead of relying on circumlocution.
Communities and Alma Media
Alma Media has various direct and indirect cultural, economic and social impacts on the communities in which it operates. Communities range from small municipalities in which Alma Media publishes a local paper to online communities formed around Alma Media’s services.
Alma Media's influence amongst its interest groups
Driver of change at the grass-root level
As a strong regional and local Finnish media company, Alma Media also has the unique opportunity to participate in many local grass root-level projects that implement Alma Media’s objectives of responsible and reliable journalism and social development and highlight regionally important themes.
In 2015, a few of these larger projects were the Tampere car boot fair, arranged twice a year jointly by Aamulehti’s Moro supplement and the local parish, and broad regional campaigns by Kainuun Sanomat and Pohjolan Sanomat, aiming to increase the vitality of their respective regions. The Kannata Kainuuta ('Support Kainuu') campaign launched by Kainuun Sanomat in 2014 and the Merilappilainen jalanjälki ('Footprint of Sea Lapland') campaign launched soon thereafter were designed and carried out in co-operation with local entrepreneurs and other partners. Their objective is to help locals to understand that they can influence the employment rate and availability of services in their region through very small changes to their consuming habits: by buying just a little more local products and services. Both newspapers have a visible role in the projects, having developed an entire product and event family around the campaigns. The campaigns continue and expand in both regions at least throughout 2015. In Kainuu, the local Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment joined the campaign at the beginning of 2015. Yle Perämeri, a local radio station of the Finnish Broadcasting Company, is involved in the collaboration in the Kemi and Tornio region.
In 2015, Lapin Kansa partnered with Pohjolan Osuuspankki, the Lapland Hospital District and the Centre of Expertise on Social Welfare in Northern Finland to hire a project manager tasked with working together with the parties involved to promote and facilitate the use of multidisciplinary digital services in sparsely populated areas.
The Tampere car boot fair is a popular event and a project that provides an opportunity for local social influence through the promotion of recycling. The event also supports local charity work: the pitch fees and income from the boot fair café are all directed to the soup kitchen that is run by the parishes of Tampere. Each year, the car boot fair produces approximately EUR 25,000 for the soup kitchen. In addition, external partners are often involved in the boot fair project, and additional aid projects are carried out with them.
Each autumn at the start of the new school year, Aamulehti implements the traditional Älä aja päälle (‘Do Not Run Over’) traffic safety campaign. The campaign puts up roadside posters near schools in the Pirkanmaa region during the autumn to urge drivers to drive cautiously and be mindful of pupils travelling to and from school. Aamulehti supplies schools with posters which faculty members and parents associations put up along roads in the vicinity of schools. The campaign is aimed at increasing the safety of pupils travelling to and from schools, particularly younger children.
Alma Media and hopefuls of the future
In addition to the direct and indirect impacts of its business operations, Alma Media supports economically and socially sustainable development through partnerships. One example of this is the youth employment (permanent and summer jobs) campaign organised in partnership with the Economic Information Office and T-Media, carried out for the fifth time in 2015. The Responsible Summer Job 2015 campaign challenged companies to create good summer jobs for young people. The goal of the campaign is to take an action-oriented approach to youth employment. In 2015, a total of 262 employers joined the campaign to offer over 40,000 responsible summer jobs. The campaign will continue in 2016 with the aim of having even more employers participate.
Aamulehti engages in long-term co-operation with the Pirkanmaa Me & MyCity. Me & MyCity is a learning programme for sixth-graders focused on social studies, working life and entrepreneurship. The Me & MyCity learning environment is a miniature city in which students work in a given profession while also acting as consumers and citizens as members of society. The Pirkanmaa Me & MyCity miniature city includes an Aamulehti editorial office in which students work in various newspaper jobs. Each school year, a total of 5,000 sixth graders visit the Pirkanmaa Me & MyCity to learn about the business and operations of the partner. They are future employees, consumers and citizens.
Aamulehti also sponsors junior sports teams in the Pirkanmaa region and organises an annual student sporting event in September in partnership with the Tampereen Pyrintö sports club. In 2015, some 2,000 runners filled the Pyynikki stadium to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the event.
Aamulehti also hosts student visits by upper comprehensive school and upper secondary school students. The basic content of the visits includes an introduction to the company and Newsday, a multimedia game that gives young people the chance to try their hand at producing a newspaper.