Annual Report 2017

ANNUAL REPORT 1 January 2017 – 31 December 2017


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 important for the well-being, development or international standing of Finnish society.
The Helsingin Sanomat Foundation was established in 2005, meaning that 2017 was the Foundation’s 12th year of operation. The Päivälehti Archives and the Päivälehti Museum are part of the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation. 


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 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 organised in the Päivälehti Museum, and records documents, photographic materials and literature related to the operations of Sanoma, Lehtikuva Picture Agency and their founders in the Päivälehti Archives. The materials are actively offered for the use of researchers, media and collective memory, as well as cultural organisations. 



The foundation processed 134 grant applications in 2017 (201: 75). The applications amounted to a total of EUR 10,014,442 (7,038,420). Grants were awarded in the amount of EUR 1,444,870 and fellowships in the amount of EUR 545,878, totalling EUR 1,990,748 (1,731,182), for 28 (16) projects (fellowships are included as their own project).

The grants returned or revoked amounted to EUR 100,000 (2016: EUR 9,654). The costs recognised in the income statement for 2017 include tuition fees and exchange rate differences.

The recipients of the grants were informed in person. Their names were published on the foundation’s website. Their final reports will also be published on the website.

During its years of operation (2006–2017), the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation has awarded a total of EUR 37,899,997 (2006–2016: EUR 35,909,249) in grants and donations to a total of 318 (290) projects . The grants revoked over the years of its operation amount to EUR 714,327 (614,327).

The Helsingin Sanomat Foundation has reserved EUR 2 million for grants and journalists’ fellowships for 2018. 

Directed call for applications: The post-truth era

In November 2016, the editorial team of Oxford Dictionaries selected “post-truth” as Word of the Year for 2016. The post-truth era refers to emotions and downright lies having replaced facts in politics. The term was in particularly frequent use in the public debate surrounding the United States presidential election and the Brexit vote in the UK.

The Helsingin Sanomat Foundation wanted to contribute to the topical debate and carried out a directed call for applications with the theme of the post-truth era. The aim was to examine the phenomenon from the perspective of research, journalism and media criticism. The announcement concerning the call emphasised interdisciplinarity and cooperation between universities.

The foundation received 74 applications, seeking funding totalling more than EUR 5 million. The applications concerned the fields of philosophy, political science, journalism and history, among others. Ten of the applicants were awarded a grant, totalling EUR 546,120.

Freedom-of-speech projects

Support for research related to freedom of speech and various projects and initiatives involving free speech constitute the foundation’s key tasks.

During the year, the foundation received eight applications for support for projects involving freedom of speech. Five of the projects were awarded a grant. Among others, support was awarded to the UNESCO-Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize for 2018–2020 and the Finnish Foundation for Media and Development (Vikes) for the organisation of workshops aiming to increase the understanding of freedom of speech and Finnish media among immigrants.

Other grants

The foundation’s other grants were awarded to topical projects studying the changes caused by digitalisation in the media business, the Finnish extreme right-wing on social media, and the challenges that a populistic alternative media poses to traditional journalism.

The largest individual grant was awarded to a project led by professor Taina Pihlajarinne of the Faculty of Law at the University of Helsinki, focusing on the legal challenges of AI journalism. The project studies the challenges that AI journalism poses for legal regulation. The amount of the two-year grant is EUR 215,000.


Every year, the foundation grants fellowships for the further education of journalists. The fellowship programme aims to develop the professional skills of journalists and, thereby, secure the success of Finnish media in the changing society.

The length of the training programmes ranges from three weeks to a semester. The fellowships are granted to journalists at the mid-point of their career. The selection of the fellows pays attention to including journalists from various media and from across Finland.
In addition, the foundation has signed an agreement with the International Press Institute (IPI) on sending student fellows to work placement at IPI’s headquarters in Vienna, Austria, in 2017–2020. Over three years, six Finnish students of journalism will have the chance to work in an organisation focused on freedom-of-press issues for a period of six months.

Throughout the years of its operation, the foundation has granted a total of 130 fellowships. 


In the autumn of 2016, the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation launched the fourth Uutisraivaaja media innovation competition. The competition received 50 applications, of which the jury selected five teams set to continue in the competition in the spring of 2017. Each team received funding of EUR 10,000 for the further development of their project.

The winner was announced at the foundation’s anniversary event held on 20 September. The prize was shared among two teams – Tripster, which offers high-quality travel journalism, and Frameright, focused on solving problems related to the framing of photos on the internet. Both of the teams were awarded a development grant of EUR 125,000 for the further development of their projects.


An impact study commissioned by the foundation’s Board of Trustees was carried out during the year. The study aimed to investigate the impact that the foundation’s operations – grants, the museum and the archive – have in terms of researchers, media operators and the public, as well as the foundation’s media visibility. The study was conducted by the communications agency Luotsi.


The Helsingin Sanomat Foundation operates in premises renovated in 2015, located at Korkeavuorenkatu 28 and Ludviginkatu 2–4.

The Päivälehti Museum is open to the public throughout the year from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., as well as by agreement.  Free admission, free guided tours and accessible premises allow everyone interested to visit the museum.

The total number of visitors was 48,000 (in 2016: 40,000) and there were nearly 600 (400) guided group visits.  Of these groups, roughly 400 (250) arrived from various educational institutions.

The Päivälehti Archives are the most open business archives in Finland, systematically improving the availability of its materials. A total of 919 (979) enquiries concerning the documents in the archives’ collections were made in 2017. This includes enquiries made in conjunction with visits to researcher rooms, as well as other enquiries that involved the material in the Päivälehti Archives. A total of 880 (1,049) researcher and other visits were made to the archives in 2017. The photocopies and digital copies delivered from the archives’ collections numbered 1,327 (1,416). Document and newspaper materials were photographed for publication purposes on 5 (6) occasions.


The foundation organises media-themed events aiming to promote public discussion, the visibility of science and the networking of journalists and researchers. In addition, the foundation offers media industry operators and non-profit associations the opportunity to use the premises of the Päivälehti Museum free of charge.

In 2017, the foundation held ten MediaMonday evenings at the Päivälehti Museum. The purpose of the evenings is to provide a forum for discussion topics related to the media, journalism and freedom of speech. The topics of the events held in the spring included the development of free speech in area of St. Petersburg, fake news and the treatment of religions in media. The topics discussed in the autumn included the power of critics, the truth of pictures and the joys and sorrows of publicity. The series of discussions will continue in 2018.

The foundation’s anniversary was celebrated at the Päivälehti Museum on Wednesday 20 September. The by-invitation-only event also served as an opportunity to announce the winners of the fourth Uutisraivaaja competition, Frameright and Tripster, and for an introduction into the foundation’s activities.

The Helsingin Sanomat Foundation participated in the Foundation Day – a joint event for all Finnish grant foundations – held at Narinkkatori in Kamppi, Helsinki, on Sunday 1 October.

On 1 December, the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation and the Anders Chydenius Foundation held a Right to Know Day seminar at the Päivälehti Museum. The event’s topic was What’s wrong with lobbying? How to increase openness?

Approximately 100 events were held at the Päivälehti Museum outside of the museum’s normal opening hours, of which roughly 30 were the foundation’s own productions. Such own events included museum theatre, public lectures and exhibition openings, among others. Events were particularly frequent towards the end of the year, when the public was given an opportunity to participate in a handicrafts event called Radikaalit ristipistot, learn old card games and get to know the history of spiritism.  In November, the day of archives (Arkistojen päivä) was organised in cooperation with the archives of the Finnish Literature Society under the theme of woman, ideology, society.

Other event organisers included the Union of Journalists in Finland and Finland’s photo, science and environmental journalists. The most active external user of the museum premises was Sanoma.


The temporary exhibitions organised by the foundation are concentrated in the Päivälehti Museum. The exhibition year included seven exhibitions which aimed to shed light on various aspects of media and reach different target audiences.

The exhibition year began with a caricature exhibition set up by Skarpit (15 February – 19 March) and continued with the Viisi ihmeellistä aarretta – Seikkailu oppikirjojen kuviin exhibition aimed at elementary schools and families with children (31 March–1 October). The Tää menee näin – vuoden biisit 1977–2017 exhibition, on display in October-näyttely (5 October–29 October) showcased Juha Metso’s photographs of musicians. The texts were written by journalist Vesa Sirén. The Vapaus, rakkaus, tasa-arvo – Salonkielämää Helsingissä ja Kuopiossa exhibition, produced in collaboration with Kuopio Cultural History Museum, was open from 7 November 2017 to 7 January 2018. The biggest success of the year was the Hurmaavat helmet – taidetta Helsingin Sanomain Säätiön kokoelmista exhibition, which was seen by more than 7,000 lovers of the golden age of Finnish art in 15–26 November. During the year two exhibitions were produced for the Printing Cellar.

Päivälehti Archives took part in the online exhibition A Tale of Two Countries, collected by the Finnish Institute in London, with a contribution focused on the connections between Helsingin Sanomat and the UK.


The foundation’s collections are composed of paper and digital documents, newspapers and magazines, photographs, books and history interviews, as well as museum pieces and works of art. The collection work ensures the preservation of important materials of, primarily, Sanoma, but also other media operators, for future generations.

Documents, newspapers and historical interviews

At the end of 2017, the archival collections of the foundation included a total of 3,390 shelf metres of manual materials (2016: 3,240). The amount of free space was 746 shelf metres (782). Digital materials at the end of 2017 amounted to 2.8 terabytes, of which approximately 1.2 terabytes are in the M-Files document management system and the rest, 1.6 terabytes, consist of digital video material.

There were a total of 52 (77) donations of material during the review period, of which 7 (7) were one-time donations of digital material. In addition, the archive received real-time updates to its digital communication material related to Sanoma.

Original digital materials, including their metadata, were saved in the M-Files system:  Presentation materials related to the business of Sanoma and the editorial work of individual newspapers and magazines.

A total of 9 (9) history interviews were conducted with former employees of Sanoma during the year. A total of 394 interviews have been conducted since 1984.

Objects, photographs and library

In 2017, the collections were complemented with eight donations, which consisted mainly of objects related to the marketing, editorial work and printing technology of organisations belonging to Sanoma and of objects received from a few external donors.  These donations included around 120 items in total.

The foundation’s collections include around 4,300 items.

At the end of the review period, the foundation’s photograph collection included a total of 12,769 (12,497) digitised images. The collection holds a total of nearly 20,000 photographs.

The foundation’s collection also includes a total of 10,630 (10,592) books.

Cooperation related to the collection management

In 2017, the Päivälehti Archives continued to cooperate with Digitalia, a research and development centre for digital information management operating under the auspices of South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences (Xamk). The archive’s materials have been used as an example in a project studying the constraints of long-term email database storage and exploring various solution models.

The Päivälehti Museum participated in the national TAKO collection cooperation project of Finnish museums, carrying responsibility for the preservation of items and traditions related to newspaper publishing operations. The museum has also provided expertise assistance in matters related to other Finnish historical printing collections.


The Helsingin Sanomat Foundation openly and actively provides information about its operations. Its website is available in Finnish and English. In addition, the foundation maintains three websites related to projects it supports. Journalists share experiences of their fellowship periods at, the progress of the Uutisraivaaja competition is being followed at, and at, those who received a grant under the application theme post-truth era write about the progress of their projects.

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

The foundation is also active on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The Päivälehti Museum participated in three significant competitions in the museum sector and was selected a finalist in the Museum of the Year competition of the Finnish Museums Association and the final of the European Museum of the Year Award competition of the European Museum Forum, held in Zagreb on 3–6 May 2017.

The museum also had its own stand at the Educa event in February 2017.


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

The Päivälehti Museum is a member of the Finnish Museums Association. In 2017, the museum also became a member of the Association of Traffic Museums (Trafiikki).


The Helsingin Sanomat Foundation’s expense deficit of actual operating costs amounted to EUR 3,994,862 (2016: 3,847,233), of which grants and journalists’ fellowships accounted for EUR 1,990,748 (1,731,182).

During the year, EUR 691,265 was paid in salaries and wages (675,111).

The deficit for the financial year was EUR 710,754 (a deficit of EUR 918,281).

The foundation’s deferred liabilities amounted to EUR 2,265,836 (2,707,980), of which unpaid grants and fellowships accounted for EUR 2,153,417 (2,562,341).

In December, the foundation sold its shares in Kiinteistö Oy Miekkakala, the real estate company, which owns the premises in downtown Helsinki in which the foundation operates. The buyer was an investment fund managed by Aberdeen Standard Investments. The proceeds were invested in a well-diversified portfolio of equities with high, sustainable dividend yield. The dividend stream clearly exceeds the costs of the lease. The foundation has a long term lease which is deemed to be more favourable than a minority stake in the real estate company.

The foundation’s related parties have been defined in accordance with the new Foundations Act. Its related parties include the members and deputy members of the Board of Trustees, the members of the Finance Committee, the President, the Vice President/Director of the Päivälehti Museum, the Director of the Päivälehti Archives and the auditors, as well as their family members and any organisations or foundations controlled by them.

The meeting fees paid to the members of the Board of Trustees, the Working Committee and the Finance Committee during the year amounted to EUR 12,400 (10,600). Fees are paid for each meeting specifically and only to the members who attend. The Board of Trustees deems the fees to be in line with general practice, considering the duties of the members of the Board and the committees and the time and expertise required.

In addition, the fees paid to the President, the Vice President and the Director of the Päivälehti Archives totalled EUR 289,430.

The auditor has been paid according to the invoice.

The foundation had no other related-party transactions during the year.

The foundation did not receive any subsidies or grants during the year.

Income from investment and financial activities was EUR 3,353,441 (2,938,895). Capital distributions of investment funds were EUR 1,238,881 (1,305,499), realized gains from securities sold were EUR 537,378 (757,372) and the dividend income was 1,280,927 (720,744).  Net income from the foundation’s investment and financial activities was EUR 3,284,108 (2,928,951).

The unrealised changes in the value of investments totalled EUR 18,441,112 (2016: 23,943,424) and were largely due to the increase in the price of the Sanoma share. The unrealised changes were recognised in the fair value reserve, where cumulative changes in value totalled EUR -22,060,752 (-40,504,245) at the end of the year.

At the turn of the year, the market value of the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation’s assets was EUR 127.0 million (109.5 million). Investments in shares accounted for 98.8% (92.2%) and fixed-income investments for 1.2% (1.7%) of the total. Sanoma shares accounted for 48.9 % (42.9 %) of total assets. No substantial changes were made in asset allocation during the year.

The total return on the portfolio was +21.5 % (+35.0 %). The investments in fixed income yielded a return of +0.0 % (+0.02%). The return on Sanoma shares was +35.1 % (+115.8 %), the return on other direct investments in shares was +8.0 % (+0.99 %) and the return on equity funds was +10.1 % (+3.36 %). The total return was exceptionally good due to the increase in the value of Sanoma shares. The return without Sanoma was fairly good and clearly better than during the previous year.

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


The main objective of the asset management is to secure the real value of the assets and to maximize the long term returns. In addition the foundation aims to achieve a stable and predictable cash flow and sufficient liquidity. Given the long term nature of the investment strategy the allocation to equities is high (98,8 % at year end). The portfolio is usually not hedged. Since the objective is to achieve a high long term real return and cash flow short term volatility is not relevant as a measurement of risk.

In accordance with the investment strategy, the investments are diversified geographically, across industries, company-specifically and in terms of currency. The investments are mainly in liquid assets, thus the liquidity risk of the foundation is low.

Domestic and international economic developments affect the investments. General market risks are the main source of risk. The general development of the international equity markets and the dividend levels over the long term have a significant impact on the foundation. The Sanoma share holding (48 % of the net assets) is the single biggest risk position.

The Board of Trustees has adopted a separate plan with regard to the Sanoma risk. Assets have been managed and investments have been made in line with the investment policy approved by the Board of Trustees. The Finance  Committee oversees the asset maintenance issues on an ongoing basis.


Board of Trustees and President

Kaius Niemi served as Chair of the Board, and Matti Sintonen served as its I Vice Chair and Elina Lehtinen as its II Vice Chair (as of 30 March 2017;  deputy member 1 January–30 March). Its other members were Jyrki Ali-Yrkkö, Ville Pernaa, Laura Saarikoski and Liisa Välikangas. The deputy members were Teemu Luukka and Pirjo Hiidenmaa (as of 30 March).

Ulla Koski served as President of the foundation and as the presenting official of the Board of Trustees. Office Manager Sirpa Ikonen served as secretary at the meetings of the Board of Trustees. Saila Linnahalme served as Vice President of the foundation.

The Board convened four times during the review period.

Working Committee

The Working Committee prepares matters to be discussed at Board meetings. It was composed of Kaius Niemi (Chair), Elina Lehtinen (as of 30 March), Matti Sintonen and Ulla Koski. Sirpa Ikonen served as secretary at its meetings. The Working Committee met three times during the review period.

Finance Committee

The Finance Committee prepares the investment strategy and reports to the Working Committee and the Board of Trustees on the management of investment assets. The Chair of the Finance Committee was Nils Ittonen, and its members were Ulla Koski, Elina Lehtinen (as of 30 March), Kaius Niemi and Matti Sintonen. Sirpa Ikonen served as secretary at its meetings. The Finance Committee met three times during the year.

Scientific Committee

The Scientific Committee assists the Board of Trustees in evaluating grant applications. The members of the Scientific Committee were Professor Colin Sparks, Hong Kong Babtist University, Principal Lecturer Hanna Rajalahti, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences (until 30 March), and Secretary General Pekka Aula, Finnish Academy of Science and Letters, and Professor Anu Koivunen, Stockholm University (as of 30 March). Representing the foundation on the Scientific Committee were Matti Sintonen (Chair), Ulla Koski and Saila Linnahalme (secretary). The Scientific Committee met once during the year.


In the 2017 operating year, the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation employed 11 (2016: 11) full-time employees.

In September-November, the entire personnel of the foundation took part in a training promoting the foundation’s new strategy and its deployment. The training was organised by the Helsinki Region Chamber of Commerce. In May, a shared field trip for the personnel was also arranged to the Archives of Urho Kekkonen, located in Orimattila, Finland.


Samuli Perälä, APA, and Valtteri Helenius, APA, served as auditors, with Juha Tuomala, APA, and Jaana Salmi, APA, as deputy auditors.