Annual Report 2019

1 January – 31 December 2019


The primary purpose of the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation is to secure the future of Finnish media and quality journalism, as well as to support freedom of speech.

The Foundation may also support other research and various initiatives of importance for the wellbeing, development or international standing of Finnish society. The Foundation may also organize competitions related to its operations.

The Foundation maintains the Päivälehti Museum and the Päivälehti Archives.

The Helsingin Sanomat Foundation was established in December 2005 and 2019 was its 14th year of operation.


The Foundation fulfils its mission by awarding grants to research and training projects related to the media industry and to competitions in the field and to various freedom-of-speech initiatives.

The Foundation provides the public with free admission to exhibitions on the history and future of media and contemporary media held in the Päivälehti Museum. The Foundation also records documents, photographic materials and literature related to the operations of the Sanoma Group and Lehtikuva Picture Agency and their founders in the Päivälehti Archives. The materials are actively made available for the use of researchers, the media, collective memory and cultural organizations. 



The Foundation processed 57 grant applications in 2019 (2018: 45) amounting to a total of €4,009,796 (€3,827,091). Grants totalling €1,825,300 (€1,380,841) and fellowships totalling €444,455 (€487,719), making a total of €2,269,755 (€1,868,560), were awarded for 18 (13) projects. Grants returned or revoked amounted to €83,513 (€165,159). The costs recognized in the income statement in the accounting period include tuition fees and exchange rate differences. 

The grantees were informed in person and their names were published on the Foundation’s website. The final reports of the grantees’ research projects are also published on the website.

During its years of operation, 2006–2019, the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation has awarded a total of €42,038,312 in grants and fellowships for a total of 349 (331) projects. Grants totalling €962,999 (€879,486) have been revoked during the years of operation.

Direct call for applications: Media2030 and Media and journalism – the same playing field but different rules

At its Annual General Meeting held in March during the year under review, the Board of Trustees decided to fund three projects in the Media 2030 direct call for applications with a total of €520,000. The two-phase call for applications launched in autumn 2018 attracted a total of 22 idea papers, based on which the Board requested detailed follow-up applications from five application teams. In January 2019, the Foundation’s Scientific Committee interviewed all researchers selected for the second stage and provided them with guidance in making their follow-up applications.

At its last meeting of 2019, the Board of Trustees earmarked €500,000 for a two-phase direct call for applications to be launched in 2020. The direct call for applications seeks to invite researchers, communicators and journalists to examine the radically changed media landscape in the 2010s and the impacts of these changes on the public, actors and the surrounding community. 


The fifth Uutisraivaaja media innovation competition was held during the year under review. The competition seeks the best ideas for the development of information sharing.

Application for the first phase of the two-phase competition closed at the end of January 2019. A total of 55 competition applications were received. Convening in March, the jury granted €10,000 in development funding to each of five projects. The competition winner was announced in October and the full project funding of €250,000 earmarked for the competition was awarded to RARE. RARE is a new media where young people do journalism for young people in channels popular with young people. The prizes were awarded at an event held at Musiikkitalo in Helsinki at which the keynote speaker was Alan Rusbridger, former editor-in-chief of the Guardian newspaper.

The Foundation also funded the Skolar Award science competition, held in conjunction with the Slush technology and startup event. In the Skolar Award competition, researchers from various disciplines present new, scientifically interesting and ambitious research ideas to a large audience and jury. The Foundation awarded support to Kaskas Media, which offered the competitors scientific communication training.

In 2019, the Foundation supported the Timantti (Diamond) award for visual journalism for the third time. The award aims to focus attention on the best innovations and actors in Finland. The prize of a €10,000, which is distributed by the Visuaalisen journalismin kilta ry association was awarded to Helsingin Sanomat for a story telling about the journey undertaken by three young Finns to Prague during the occupation of Czechoslovakia in August 1968.

Freedom-of-speech projects

The Foundation continued cooperation with the International Press Institute (IPI). Supported by the Foundation, in 2019, a Finnish student worked in Vienna, Austria in the organization focusing on press freedom issues. The internship seeks to offer young media students an opportunity to learn about the state of freedom of the press in different countries.

During the year under review, the Foundation supported for the seventh time the UNESCO Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize. The Foundation decided to continue to support the prize also during 2021–2023. 

Other grants

During the year, the Foundation awarded a number of significant research grants including a project on sustainable business models in the Finnish media sector (€175,000, LUT University) and another project on dealing with hate speech from a societal and legal perspective (€169,000, University of Tampere, Faculty of Social Sciences, and Helsinki University of Helsinki, Faculty of Law). 

The Aleksanteri Institute operating within the University of Helsinki received a grant of €130,000 for a study investigating the impact of developments in data- and algorithm-driven reality on journalistic practices and media (Sustainable Journalism for the Algorithmic Future).

The Foundation upheld the Päivälehti heritage by awarding a grant (€137,000) to Reetta Hänninen PhD for biographical research on Maissi Erkko (1872–1936), the wife of Päivälehti’s founder Eero Erkko.

In September, the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation joined the Post Docs in Companies program, which aims to employ fresh doctors in companies and thus promote business renewal. Other foundations that have joined the PoDoCo program, which was launched in 2015, are the KAUTE Foundation, the Foundation for Economic Education, the Paulo Foundation, Maa- ja vesitekniikan tuki (the support association for land and water technology in Finland), the Maj and Tor Nessling Foundation, the Finnish Cultural Foundation, the Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland, the Finnish Foundation for Technology Promotion and the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation.

The Foundation awarded its first PoDoCo grant (€28,000) to Pekka Kallioniemi PhD, who will work for a year at Neverthink Oy on his research project, Internet Video Culture: Understanding Audience Behavior in Consuming Human Curated Content.


The Foundation’s fellowship programme aims to develop the professional skills and capabilities of journalists and to support quality Finnish journalism and the success of Finnish media. 

The length of the training programme varies from three weeks to an academic year. The fellowships are intended for journalists midway through their career.

During the year under review, the Foundation’s student fellows were sent to Shanghai (Fudan University), Berlin (Freie Universität Berlin), Oxford (Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism), Los Angeles (USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism), New York (Columbia University Journalism School), Aarhus (Constructive Institute) and the European University at St Petersburg. In addition, one fellow participated in the World Press Institute fellowship program for journalists.

Autumn 2019 saw the launch of applications for journalist fellowships for the 2020–2021 academic year and a total of 43 people applied. As in earlier years, the most popular location was USC Annenberg (17 applicants).

The Foundation decided to continue funding the Woodrow Wilson Center scholarship program for Finnish scholars in the United States by a total of €70,000 during the years 2020–2022. The Wilson Center is an independent research centre established by the US Congress in 1968 and provides an opportunity for scholars to deepen their knowledge and skills, exchange ideas and make valuable contacts.


The Helsingin Sanomat Foundation operates out of rented premises at Korkeavuorenkatu 28 and Ludviginkatu 2–4 in Helsinki.

The Päivälehti Museum is open to the public throughout the year from 11am to 5pm and at other times by arrangement. Free admission, free guided tours and accessible premises enable everyone interested to visit the Museum.

In 2019, the Museum had a total of almost 50,000 (2018: 47,000) visitors and there were nearly 700 (600) guided group visits. 

The research room at the Päivälehti Archives is open on weekdays from 8.30am to 4pm and on Thursdays until 6pm. During the year under review, a total of 758 (569) enquiries were made about the documents in the Archives’ collections. This includes enquiries made in conjunction with visits to the researcher room and other enquiries involving the material in the Päivälehti Archives. A total of 884 (614) researcher and other visits were made to the Archives. A total of 773 (754) photocopies and digital copies from the Archives’ collections were provided. 


The Foundation organizes media-themed events aiming to promote public discussion, the visibility of science and the networking of journalists and researchers. In addition, the Foundation makes the Päivälehti Museum’s premises available free of charge to media industry actors and non-profit associations.

On the Night of Science on 10 January 2019, the authors of Helsingin Sanomat’s 130-year history opened up new perspectives on the newspaper’s evolvement and presented interesting archival finds from the collections in the Päivälehti Archives. 

The Climate Change and the Media seminar held on 1 February reflected on how perhaps the most significant phenomenon and threat of our times should be dealt with in the media. The seminar was held in English and the keynote speaker was Dr James Painter, a Research Associate at the Reuters Institute at the University of Oxford.

Virus!, a media literacy skills game developed jointly by Vantaa City Library, Aalto University and the Päivälehti Museum, was launched in the Museum earlier in the year. The game has been designed particularly for pupils in their 5th year at comprehensive school and in spring 2019 some 50 groups visited the Museum to test their media skills.

The Night of the Arts took place on 15 August around Pekka Töpöhäntä (Peter-no-Tail) theatre performances and the theme of cats. Other public events relating to the Pekka Töpöhäntä exhibition were held during the spring and summer.

The Foundation’s 2020–2021 journalist fellowship info event took place on 4 September. The event was attended by a host of earlier fellows, who told about their experiences and encouraged new applicants. 

The Media and Media Research seminar held on 9 October sparked an interesting discussion about whether universities carry out research of relevance for editorial staff and how much editorial staff keep abreast of research in the industry. Professor Pekka Aula, a member of Helsingin Sanomat Foundation’s Scientific Committee, guided the audience to the theme. 

Suomen suurin (Finland’s greatest), 130 years of Päivälehti-Helsingin Sanomat, was published on 21 October. The book was written by Niklas Jensen-Eriksen, Professor of Business History at the University of Helsinki, and Aleksi Mainio and Reetta Hänninen, history researchers at the University. Suomen suurin is the fifth work in University of Helsinki newspaper history research project. The project started up in 2012, when the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation awarded the project a grant of €1.5 million. 

The prizes in the Pöytäkirjojen ulkopuolelta III (Off the record) competition, held to mark the anniversary of the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper, were distributed on 11 November. Open to former and current Sanoma Media Finland Oy employees, the writing competition attracted entries from 46 writers. The competition was held for the third time and was won by journalist Jarmo Aaltonen with his entry Lahti–Mikkeli: all night long, which told about the bank robbery hostage drama in Mikkeli in 1986.

Arkistojen päivä (Day of the Archives) was held on 31 October together with the archives of the Finnish Literature Society. The theme of the event was the writer Timo K. Mukka and his production. 

Saturday 16 November celebrated the 130th anniversary of Helsingin Sanomat with work demonstrations and cake and coffee.


The Museum curated three exhibitions on its own premises during the year and one touring exhibition. The most popular exhibition was Pekka Töpöhäntä (Peter-no-Tail), which highlighted the importance of friendship and understanding differences, and had more than 20,000 visitors. Photographer Caj Bremer’s celebratory exhibition Kuvia kaukaa (Photos from afar) showed Bremer’s photos of countries that few Finns in the 1970s and 1980s had visited. The photos had been published in Helsingin Sanomat. The highlight later in the year was the exhibition Timo K. Mukka – kirjailija ja aika (Writer and time), which depicted the writer Timo K. Mukka, social upheaval and the cultural policy debate in the 1960s and 1970s. The Museum also marked the 130th anniversary of Helsingin Sanomat with a news exhibition, which was shown at the Kamppi Shopping Centre on 11–17 November 2019, after which it toured libraries and cultural institutions across Finland. 


The Foundation’s collections comprise paper and digital documents, newspapers and magazines, photographs, books, microfilms, historical interviews, museum objects and works of art. Collection work ensures the preservation for future generations of important materials primarily of Sanoma Corporation, but also of other media operators. 

Documents, newspapers and historical interviews

At year-end 2019, the Päivälehti Archives included a total of 3,392.5 (3,376.3) shelf metres of manual materials and 3.0 terabytes of digital materials, of which around 1.4 terabytes are in the M-Files document management and YKSA software service and storage and the remaining 1.6 terabytes consist of digital video material.

There were a total of 38 (35) donations of material during the year of which 3 (5) were non-recurring donations of digital material. In addition, the Archives received updates to its Sanoma digital communication material.

During the year under review, work was done on digitizing and microfilming issues of the weekly publication Viikkosanomat from the years 1924–1944. In addition, partly unknown photographic material preserved on glass negatives was digitized. 

Original digital materials, including their metadata, were saved in the M-Files system. During the year, a start was made on also on exporting archive catalogue data and digitized materials to the YKSA system.

During the year under review, 12 (7) historical interviews were conducted with former employees of Sanoma.

Object collections, photographs and works of art

In 2019, a total of 16 donations were added to the object collection. These donations consisted mainly of objects related to the marketing, editorial work and printing technology of organizations belonging to Sanoma Corporation. Donations of objects related to printing were also received from external donors including the Finnish News Agency STT and the Union of Journalists in Finland. 

At year-end 2019, the collections included a total of some 4,800 objects, of which 2,706 (2018: 2,215) have been digitally catalogued in the Akseli databank. 

The three largest object collections that have been catalogued are printing plates 24.0% (2018: 27.6%), printing 18.0% (29.5%) and editorial work 17.9% (18.3%).

The Museum’s collections are stored in the cellars at Ludviginkatu in Helsinki and in Martinlaakso (Sanomala), Vantaa. Ensuring sufficient future storage space required the removal of duplicates in the Museum’s furnishing collection and of furniture of secondary relevance to the Museum’s collection policy. Preparations for the removals were made during 2019 and the removals will take place during spring 2020 properly documented. 

At year-end, 13,810 of the Foundation’s some 20,000 photographs had been digitized. The photographs are available to researchers in the MediaKsi system.

Cooperation related to collection management

The Päivälehti Archives continued to work together with Digitalia – Research Center on Digital Information Management operating at the South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences (Xamk). Materials in the Archives have been used in a project studying the constraints of long-term email database storage. The Päivälehti Archives will continue to work with Digitalia also in 2020. 

The Päivälehti Museum was involved in TAKO – an acquisitions, documentation and collection collaboration network for professionally managed Finnish museums – and was responsible for preservation of artefacts and traditions relating to newspaper publishing operations.


The Helsingin Sanomat Foundation’s expense deficit from ordinary operations costs was €4,516,457 (2018: €3,907,328), of which grants and journalists’ fellowships accounted for €2,186,242 (€1,703,401). During the accounting period, €718,955 (€691,309) was paid in wages and salaries.  

The surplus for the accounting period was €11,583,510 (deficit of €5,737,851).

The Foundation’s deferred liabilities amounted to €2,842,904 (€2,587,308), of which unpaid grants and fellowships accounted for €2,623,831 (€2,176,433).

There were no material changes in the Foundation’s investment activities during the year under review. Operations were financed by cash flow from investments. 

The Foundation’s related parties include the members and deputy members of the Board of Trustees, the members of the Finance Committee, the President, Vice President/Director of the Päivälehti Museum, the Director of the Päivälehti Archives and the auditors, including their family members and any organizations and foundations controlled by them. 

The attendance fees paid to the members of the Board of Trustees, the Working Committee and Finance Committee during the year amounted to €12,000 (€10,600). Attendance fees are paid for each meeting to those members present only. The Board of Trustees deems the fees to be in line with general practice taking into account the duties of the members of the Board and committees and the time and expertise required. 

In addition, fees totalling €263,413 (€266,680) were paid to the President, Vice President and the Director of the Päivälehti Archives. The auditor was paid against invoice. During the year under review, the Foundation had no other related-party transactions. The Foundation received no subsidies or grants during the year under review. 

Income from investment and financial activities was €15,127,233 (€4,048,536). Capital distributions of investment funds were €1,341,542 (€1,526,818), gains from securities sold were €10,631,468 (€0) and dividend income was €3,000,619 (€2,396,032). The surplus from investment and financial activities was €16,099,967 (deficit of €1,830,523).

Income from investment activities was exceptionally large since old fund units of low book value were realized during the year under review. The focus shifted to index funds which distribute profits.

Changes in the value of investments were €7,550,229 (-€19,924,626). The unrealized changes in the value of direct investments in equities were recognized in the fair value reserve, where cumulative changes in value totalled -€46,895,649 (-€53,650,232) at year-end.

The change in the value of Sanoma was around +€5.5 million compared to the previous year and investment funds gained around €1 million (other equities: +€1.3 million).

At the turn of the year, the market value of the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation’s assets was €125 million (€105 million). Investments in equities accounted for 98.7% (98.3%) of the Foundation’s assets and fixed-income investments for 1.3% (1.7%). Sanoma shares accounted for 43.1% (45.2%) of total assets. There were no material changes in asset allocation during the year under review.

The total return on the portfolio was 21.5% (-12.8%). The return on investments in the money market was 0.7 % (-0.4%), The return on Sanoma shares was 16.7% (-19.0%), other direct investments in equities 19.3% (-2.7%) and on equity funds 27.0% (-7.9%). 

The return on investments was exceptionally good. When evaluating the result, it should be remembered that the Foundation’s annual returns fluctuate significantly because of the high weighting of equities. 

Accounting and cash management services for the Foundation were provided by Balance-Team Ltd.


The main objective of financial activities is to preserve and grow the real value of assets long term. The Foundation’s investment activities aim also for a stable cash flow and adequate liquidity to ensure the continuity of ordinary operations. Given the long-term investment horizon, the investment strategy is equity weighted (equity weighting was 98.7% at year-end) and the investment portfolio is not generally speaking hedged. Short-term movements in prices are of no relevance to the Foundation since the Foundation strives for good long-term real returns and a good cash flow.

In accordance with the investment strategy, the investments are diversified geographically, spread across different industries, company-specifically and in terms of forex. The investments are mainly in liquid securities and funds, which can quickly be converted into cash. This means the Foundation has a low liquidity risk.

The domestic and international economic situation is reflected in the Foundation’s investments. The main risk in investment activities is the general market risk, in other words the long-term performance of the international equity markets and dividend levels. In addition, Sanoma shares account for 43.1% (45.2%) of the Foundation’s assets and thus constitute the largest single exposure.

The Board of Trustees has adopted a separate plan with regard to the Sanoma risk. Assets have been managed and investments made in line with the investment policy adopted by the Board of Trustees and matters concerning investment activities have been discussed by the Foundation’s Finance Committee.


The Helsingin Sanomat Foundation openly and actively provides information about its operations. The Foundation’s website is in Finnish and English and the Foundation has social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Journalists share experiences of their fellowship periods at 

In addition, the Foundation maintains a website on the Uutisraivaaja competition at 

The Päivälehti Archives and the Päivälehti Museum have their dedicated websites at and respectively.


The Helsingin Sanomat Foundation is a member of the Association of Finnish Foundations, the European Foundation Centre and the Helsinki Region Chamber of Commerce.

The Päivälehti Museum is a member of the Finnish Museums Association, the Traffic Museums Association and Helsinki Design District.

The Päivälehti Archives are a member of the Finnish Business Archive Association.


For 2020, the Foundation has earmarked €2 million for grants and journalist fellowships. Grant decisions place particular emphasis on inter-disciplinarity, inter-university cooperation and topicality. The Foundation will support Finnish language scientific publications by awarding the Tiedettä suomeksi (Science in Finnish) prize for the first time.

During the year, the Päivälehti Museum will open a self-service museum shop. Material in the Päivälehti Archives will also be opened to researchers online. 


At the start of 2019, Helsingin Sanomat Foundation employed 11 employees and at the end of the year 10 permanent employees. The figure in 2018 was 11.

Pekka Anttonen, the long-serving director of the Päivälehti Archives, retired and his retirement party was held in the early summer. On 4 September 2019, the Foundation’s Vice President, Director of the Päivälehti Museum Saila Linnahalme was appointed Director of the Päivälehti Archives and Museum.


Authorized accounting firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers Oy served as the Foundation’s auditor, with Valtteri Helenius APA as the lead auditor.

Significant events taking place after the close of the accounting period

Emergency measures taken by the Finnish Government because of the coronavirus pandemic may jeopardise the holding of annual general meetings of large companies and consequently result in a delay in the payment of dividends. This would jeopardise the Foundation’s liquidity.

The Foundation’s Board of Trustees is monitoring the situation and if the need arises, will adjust grant and other activities to correspond to the changed situation.