Annual Report 2023


1 January − 31 December 2023


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 Media Museum and Archives Merkki (earlier Päivälehti Museum and Päivälehti Archives).

The Helsingin Sanomat Foundation was established in December 2005 and 2023 was its 18th year of operation.

During 2023, the museum underwent modernization and the activities of the museum and archives were combined. The new name of the archives and museum, Merkki, was announced towards the end of the year.


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

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

The Foundation’s Board of Trustees decides each year the amount to be spent on implementing the Foundation’s purpose. In 2023, the Board of Trustees earmarked €2 million for project funding and €0.5 million for carrying out the modernization of the Archives and Museum. Once the details of the income budget were known, the Board of Trustees revised downwards the amount earmarked for project funding to €1.2 million.



In 2023, the Foundation processed 33 funding applications amounting to a total of €4,104,929. Research funding totalling €660,000 (2022: €1,708,000) and fellowships totalling €558,768 (€341,775) were awarded to make a total of €1,218,768 (€2,049,775). A total of six (14) projects were supported, with fellowships determined as one project. Funding cancelled and returned amounted to €117,886 (€7,173). Fellowships recognized as costs in the income statement include tuition fees and exchange rate differences.

Successful funding applicants were informed in person and unsuccessful applicants were notified through the electronic grant system. The names of funding recipients are published on the Foundation’s website as are the final reports of the funding recipients’ research projects.

During its years of operation, 2006 – 2023, the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation has awarded a total of €49,430,773 in research and other funding. Funding totalling €1,357,746 has been cancelled during the years of operation.

The Foundation has a two-phase call for funding applications. In the first phase, applicants are invited to submit a concept paper of a maximum of three pages in which the applicant briefly presents the research plan, the methods used in the research, the research team and the preliminary budget. The Working Committee selects the most promising projects from the concept papers to proceed to the second phase. The call for applications in the second phase includes a more detailed research plan, budget and other key attachments.

The Foundation’s Board of Trustees makes funding decisions twice a year.

Direct call for applications: Artificial intelligence and journalism

Once a year, the Foundation holds a direct call for applications. The theme of the 2023 call was the relationship between journalism and artificial intelligence. Applicants were invited to submit research projects that would examine the relationship between artificial intelligence and democracy, artificial intelligence and ethics, artificial intelligence and quality journalism, or artificial intelligence and media education, as well as the impact of artificial intelligence on editorial resources.

A seminar discussing the theme of the call was held in the Päivälehti Museum on 22 March 2023. Speakers at the seminar were Professor Kaarina Nikunen and Professor Minna Ruckenstein, who have studied the topic, and Esa Mäkinen, Director of Journalistic Development at Helsingin Sanomat, who examined the topic from a practical perspective.

Eight concept papers were submitted in the first phase of the call. The Working Committee decided to invite four applications to proceed to actual application. Those selected received personal feedback and support to make their application for the second phase. In September, the Board of Trustees granted funding totalling €300,000 to two projects:

Tampere University, Professor Thomas Olsson: AIdience – the significance of artificial intelligence in the use of audience for journalism, €150,000

University of Helsinki, Swedish School of Social Science (SSKH), Professor Jaana Hujanen: Envisioning artificial intelligence into journalism practice, €150,000

Other research funding

Three other research projects were awarded total funding of €360,000.

Project headed by Associate Professor Turo Uskali From the fog of war: the work of the Finnish war correspondents, photographers, and their fixers during the Russian attack on Ukraine 2014-2024, €160,000.

Funding of €160,000 was also awarded for a project headed by Senior Research Fellow Arja Turunen Women’s social position discussed in Finnish women’s magazines in the 1960s and 1970s.

Both research projects are being carried out at the University of Jyväskylä.

In addition, comics journalist Juhani Tolvanen received €40,000 for his project One hundred years of comics in Sonoma company.

Freedom-of-speech projects

The Foundation continued cooperation with the International Press Institute (IPI). Supported by the Foundation during 2023, one Finnish student worked for six months at the IPI head office in Vienna, Austria. The internship seeks to offer young media students an opportunity to learn about the state of freedom of the press in different countries. Since 2017, when the programme launched, a total of 11 Finnish students have had internships at IPI. The cooperation agreement runs until summer 2026.

In addition, the Foundation organized a freedom-of-the-press evening in November together with the Finnish IPI group in the newly opened Merkki. The topic of the evening was the relationship between social media and journalism: what kind of policies have been made in editorial offices and how the policies affect freedom of expression. Speakers at the event included David Jordan, Director, Editorial Policy and Standards at the BBC, Jussi Pullinen, Managing Editor at Helsingin Sanomat, Laura Juntunen, Complaints Analyst and Eero Hyvönen, Chair at the Council for Mass Media in Finland.


The journalist fellowship programme aims to develop the professional skills and capabilities of journalists and to support their internationalization.

The fellowships are intended for journalists midway through their career. Applicants must have at least five years of experience of a journalist’s work. Applicants selected must represent a variety of different media. Also, freelance journalists may be selected. Efforts are made to select applicants from different parts of Finland.

During the academic year 2022–2023, the Foundation’s journalist fellows studied in Berlin (Freie Universität Berlin), Oxford (Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism), Los Angeles (USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism) and Århus (Constructive Institute). In addition, one Finnish journalist participated in a two-month international fellowship programme organized by the World Press Institute.

The year under review saw the Foundation begin cooperation with City University of New York. One Finnish journalist was chosen to join the Executive Program in News Innovation and Leadership programme arranged by the university. The programme includes both distance learning and periods of contact teaching.

Autumn saw the launch of applications for journalist fellowships for the 2024-2025 academic year and 26 (2022: 32) applications were received.

The Foundation established its journalist fellowship programme in 2008. A total of 173 journalists have received the Foundation’s fellowship.

Competitions and awards

The Uutisraivaaja media innovation challenge was organized at the start of the year. A total of 23 projects were submitted for the challenge, which was organised for the seventh time.

In May, the Uutisraivaaja jury decided to award project funding totalling €185,100 to four projects. Three of the projects receiving funding dealt with the development of local journalism and one examined the relationship between artificial intelligence and journalism.

Funding was awarded to the following projects:

Two Worlds, €35,100
In the project, students compare stories written by journalists and artificial intelligence on a topical immigration theme. The project considers, among other things, source criticism.

Demokraattinen toimitus (Democratic editing), Rare ry, €50,000
The project engages consumers in the story production process with the help of social media technologies.

News researched from close up – Rohee TikTok, street magazine Rohee, €50,000
Social media content on topics discussed by residents in the Tampere region. The project focuses on local and citizen journalism.

Local online media Itä-Helsinki, Itä-Helsinki Media Oy, €50,000
Creating a regular local podcast and developing online publishing.

The Award for Development Journalism, established by the Foundation together with the Finnish Red Cross, the Finnish Foundation for Media and Development VIKES and the Union of Journalists in Finland, was awarded for the third time. The competition theme was women, girls and equality.
The €3,000 award was given to the Afgaaninaisen katse (through the eyes of an Afghan woman) blog produced in cooperation between Afghan and Finnish journalists.

Autumn saw the Ilkka Malmberg Prize awarded for the second time. The Foundation established the prize in 2021 and it is intended to encourage good and well-informed writing.

The Foundation received 24 nominations for the €15,000 prize, which was awarded to Helsingin Sanomat journalist Niclas Storås.


The Foundation arranges media-themed events at the Media Museum and Archives Merkki (Päivälehti Museum and Päivälehti Archives until November 2023). These events aim to promote social discussion, the visibility of science and the networking of journalists and researchers. In addition, the Foundation makes the Museum’s premises available free of charge to media industry actors and non-profit organizations.

The Museum was closed for more than six months in 2023 because of modernization work. This meant that only one temporary exhibition was produced during the year and there were also considerably fewer events than usual.

At the beginning of the year, the museum featured the Routanaisia exhibition (Resistance and Enlightenment in the years 1899-1906) which opened in November 2022 and was accompanied by plenty of guided tours for the public.

March saw the opening of the Jussi Pohjakallio – Kova jätkä kamera kädessä (Jussi Pohjakallio – Tough guy with a camera) photography exhibition, produced in cooperation with Paula Pohjakallio, in connection with which guided tours and memory workshops led by the Foundation’s staff as well as groovy 1950s and 1960s events were organized.

The Museum celebrated the Night of Science on 12 January 2023 by organizing lectures and handicrafts by the Väkivallattoman vastarinnan ompeluseura (Sewing Society for Nonviolent Resistance).

The Valentines Day theme on 14 February 2023 was non-verbal communication, which was practiced in a guided flower workshop.

In addition, the Museum arranged three book launch events and two events to strengthen seniors’ digital skills.


During the year under review, 49 (27) donations of archive material, of which 0 (4) were digital material, were received.

A total of 34.2 (110) shelf metres of analogue archive materials were arranged. The largest entities organized were the archives of Aamulehti and Tampereen kirjapaino Oy.

Eight (6) historical interviews with former Sanoma employees were completed during the year under review.

Ten (9) donations were added to the object collections.

The object collection now has around 6,100 objects, of which 4,952 (4,504) have been catalogued. The photograph collection contains around 25,000 photographs, of which 17,561 (17,084) had been digitized by the end of the year.

The Archives have been represented in key collaboration networks and the Museum is responsible for the preservation of artefacts and traditions relating to technical newspaper publishing operations through its involvement in national TAKO collection management cooperation. The Museum is also a member of the Trafiikki Museums Association cooperation network and has been involved as an expert in the evaluation of Edita’s extensive and nationally significant printing collection.


The Helsingin Sanomat Foundation and Media Museum and Archives Merkki operate out of leased premises at Korkeavuorenkatu 28 and Ludviginkatu 2–4.

In 2023, the Museum was open to the public daily 11am-5pm until 2 May. The Museum was closed for almost seven months because of modernization work (re-opening: 29 November 2023). This also had a considerable impact on visitor numbers, which totalled around 20,000. The Museum received almost 200 groups during the year.

The Archives research room served a total of 292 (294) researchers and answered 410 (399) requests for information services. The Archive’s collections are also available through the electronic archives and the Finna service, and at the end of the year under review the database contained 11,957 text documents and 6,377 images. Information on 953 (1,015) objects in the Museum’s collections could be seen through the service and Arjen historia portal.


The Helsingin Sanomat Foundation’s expense deficit from ordinary operations was €3,425,365 (2022: €4,268,495), of which grants and journalist fellowships accounted for €1,100,882 (€2,042,602). During the year under review, €645,183 (€639,031) was paid in wages and salaries. The surplus during the accounting period was €13,000,910 (2022: deficit €17,527,765). The Foundation’s deferred liabilities amounted to €1,787,063 (€2,678,468), of which unpaid grants and fellowships accounted for €1,706,175 (€2,593,553, including the Uutisraivaaja project, €250,000).

Historically high inflation and tight monetary policy characterized 2023. The United States saw a total of four interest rate hikes, which eventually increased the key interest rate five and a half percentage points. The euro area, on the other hand, saw six interest rate hikes, with the key deposit rate finally ending up at four per cent. Towards the end of the year, however, inflation took a clear downturn, and central bank communications became more dovish and the markets began to price in interest rate cuts.

Economic development in the United States remained surprisingly robust. Development in China was clearly disappointing, and economic development in Europe was very subdued.

Sentiment on the investment markets was depressed in the early part of the year. The exception is the sharp price rise of the US Magnificent 7 companies, especially Nvidia, which was largely due to the AI boom. In the autumn, sentiment became more positive as expectations of interest rate cuts began to be priced in. Finland’s development was very weak due to, among other things, sector weightings.

The Foundation’s related parties include the members of the Board of Trustees, the members of the Finance Committee, the President, Vice President/Director of Media Museum and Archives Merkki as well as the auditors, including their family members and any organizations and foundations controlled by them. The attendance fees paid to members of the Board of Trustees, the Working Committee and Finance Committee during the year amounted to €18,600. Attendance fees are paid for each meeting to those members present only. It is the opinion of the Board of Trustees that the fees are in line with general practice taking into account the duties of the members of the Board and committees, and the time and expertise required of these members. In addition, fees of €211,640 were paid to the Foundation’s President and Vice President, who are related parties. The auditors were paid based on invoice. The Foundation had no other related party transactions and nor did the Foundation receive any subsidies or grants during the year under review.

Income from investment and financial activities was €7,135,992 (2022: €4,651,337). Profit shares from investment funds were €1,994,951 (€1,445,808), proceeds from fund units sold were €2,572,625 (€0) and dividend income was €2,457,280 (€3,121,601). The surplus from investment and financial activities was €16,426,276 (deficit of €13,259,270). Changes in the value of investments were -€3,746,947 (-€38,660,162).

The unrealized changes in the value of direct investments in equities were recognized in the fair value reserve, where cumulative changes in value at the end of the year totalled -€49,276,009 (-€36,173,438). The change in the value of Sanoma Corporation was -€13,493,506 compared to the previous year.

At the turn of the year, the market value of the Foundation’s assets was €134 million (€135 million). Equity investments accounted for 98.7% (95%) and fixed-income investments for 1.3% (5%) of the assets. Sanoma shares accounted for 24.4% (34.1%) of total assets.

Some allocation changes were made during the year so that some of the excess liquidity was invested in domestic and Swedish direct equity investments and part in US equity funds. The Mandatum Stamina fund units were divested and the proceeds were invested as above. This meant the US weighting increased by a few percentage points. There was minor total impact on the portfolio return expectations and risk profile. The total return on the portfolio was 2.59% (-19.92%). Money market returns were 4.19% (-0.63%), the return on Sanoma shares was -25.56% (-24.71%), on other direct equity investments 7.93%  (-16.80%) and on equity funds 20.34% (-18.84%).

The return on the portfolio was both good and bad. The diversified equity portfolio performed quite well both in relative and absolute terms, especially due to the good returns on US equities. The return on Sanoma shares was very weak for the second consecutive year.

Talenom Plc provided the Foundation’s accounting and cash management services.


The main objective of financial activities is to preserve and grow the real value of the assets over the long term. The Foundation’s investment activities aim also for a steady 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 normally hedged.

Short-term movements in prices are of no relevance to the Foundation since the Foundation strives for good long-term real returns and cash flow. In accordance with the investment strategy, the investments are diversified by geography, sector, company and currency. The investments are mainly in liquid securities and funds, which can quickly be converted into cash. This means the Foundation has a low funding and liquidity risk. The domestic and international economic climate reflects on 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 markets and dividend income. In addition, Sanoma Corporation shares account for 24.4% (34.1%) of the Foundation’s assets and these constitute the largest single risk 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 policy adopted by the Board of Trustees and matters concerning investment activities have been discussed in the Foundation’s Finance Committee.


The Foundation invests its assets responsibly and when making investment decisions takes into consideration financial aspects as well as environmental, social responsibility and good governance (ESG) perspectives.

Through its grant policy, the Foundation seeks to support the fair and equitable remuneration of researchers. Most of the research grants awarded by the Foundation are paid to universities and grants also include social security costs.

The Foundation’s exhibition activities take into account the principles of sustainability by choosing ecological materials and by recommending recycling.


Helsingin Sanomat Foundation communicates about its activities openly and actively. The Foundation has a website in Finnish and English. The Foundation operates on social media platforms Facebook, X, Instagram and LinkedIn.

News about journalist fellowships cab be followed at

In addition, the Foundation maintains a website telling about the Uutisraivaaja innovation challenge (

The Media Museum and Archives Merkki has its own websites at (


The Helsingin Sanomat Foundation is a member of the Association of Finnish Foundations, Helsinki Region Chamber of Commerce and the Philanthropy Europe Association (Philea).

The Media Museum and Archives Merkki is a member of the Finnish Business Archive Association, the Finnish Museums Association, the Trafiikki Museums Association, Design District Helsinki and Teollisuusperintöseura.


Board of Trustees

During the year, the rules of the Foundation were amended so that in future no deputy members will be elected to the Board, but all members elected will be full members. The number of members remained unchanged (minimum three, maximum seven). In addition, a rules amendment was made whereby the action plan and budget for the following financial year are adopted at the last meeting of each calendar year. These confirmations were earlier made at the annual meeting of the Board of Trustees. The Finnish Patent and Registration Office approved the amendments proposed by the Board of Trustees.

The Foundation’s Board of Trustees was chaired by Antero Mukka, Pirjo Hiidenmaa was Ist vice chair and Pekka Aula 2nd vice chair.

Board members were Laura Saarikoski and Teemu Luukka (until 29 March 2023) and Anu Koivunen, Matti Kalliokoski, Virpi Tuunainen and Teija Sutinen (from 29 March 2023).

President Ulla Koski served as presenting office to the Board of Trustees. Kirsi Kolari was secretary to the Board of Trustees and Administrative Coordinator.

The Board of Trustees convened three times during the term of office.

Working Committee

The Working Committee prepares matters coming before meetings of the Board of Trustees. It consisted of Antero Mukka as chair and members Pekka Aula, Pirjo Hiidenmaa, Anu Koivunen and Ulla Koski. The Committee convened five times during its term of office.

Finance Committee

The Finance Committee is tasked with preparing the Foundation’s investment strategy and reporting to the Working Committee and the Board of Trustees on the management of investment assets. The Finance Committee was chaired by Nils Ittonen and the members were Pekka Aula, Antero Mukka, Teemu Luukka (until 29 March), Teija Sutinen (from 29 March) and Ulla Koski. The Finance Committee held four meetings during the year.

Scientific Committee

The Scientific Committee is tasked with supporting the decision-making of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees by assessing the funding applications received by the Foundation.

Members of the Scientific Committee are Professor Terhi Rantanen from the London School of Economics, Professor Ike Picone from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Emeritus Professor Hannu Nieminen from the University of Helsinki, university lecturer Kata Kyrölä from University College London, Professor Jussi Parikka from Aarhus University, Associate Professor Tero Karppi at the University of Toronto and Assistant Professor Tanja Aitamurto at the University of Chicago.

Professor Pirjo Hiidenmaa (chair) and President Ulla Koski represented the Foundation in the committee.

The Scientific Committee had one remote meeting.


Audit firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers Oy served as the auditor, with Eetu Anttonen APA appointed as the principal auditor.


The Foundation employed ten people on permanent employment contracts. Operational activities were headed by the Foundation’s President Ulla Koski. The Foundation’s Vice President and Director of the Media Museum and Archives Merkki was Saila Linnahalme.


Expectations are cautiously positive driven by expectations of interest rate cuts. The assumption is that there will be a soft landing in the United States and a recession will be avoided. However, the risks are quite high. If, for some reason, inflation developments are worse than expected, the desired interest rate cuts may not necessarily be seen or may materialise more slowly than expected.

The geopolitical situation is still highly tense and any new conflicts could have dramatic effects.

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