At Alma Media, such 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.
Therefore, in June 2014, for the second consecutive year, Alma Media participated in the Mirrors or Movers seminar held in London. The main themes of the seminar were questions related to measuring the brainprint of media; equality issues and the way women are portrayed in media; 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 in this is to monitore 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 2014, the Council for Mass Media issued a total of 96 decisions on matters such as corrections and surreptitious advertising. Of these decisions, 17 pertained to Alma Media’s various media. Of the decisions pertaining to Alma Media, 35 per cent were condemnatory, which was a lower percentage than the overall rate of condemnatory CMM decisions in 2014. The overall rate for condemnatory decisionsby the Council last year was 40 per cent.
After the peak experienced in 2013, however, the total number of CMM decisions in Finland dropped in 2014 closer to the level of the previous years. However, the number of cases dealt with by the CMM remained higher than in the first years of the 2010s.
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 others. In 2014, journalist Taneli Koponen from Aamulehti received the esteemed Freedom of Speech honorary award, granted every four years for significant journalistic merits. In his articles, Mr Koponen, an investigative journalist, has revealed shortcomings in the management of finances in the Finnish Defence Forces and written about trips sponsored by pharmaceutical companies for doctors. Mr Koponen was awarded for his work also in 2010, when the Finnish Newspapers Association granted him an award for writing the socially most influential article of the year.
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 journalism and social development and highlight regionally important themes.
In 2014, 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. Both the Kannata Kainuuta ('Support Kainuu') campaign launched by Kainuun Sanomat in summer 2014, and the Merilappilainen jalanjälki ('Footprint of Sea Lapland') campaign lauched soon thereafter were designed and carried out in co-operation with local entrepreneurs and other actors. 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.
Another example of social projects is the popular car boot fair in Tampere, which promotes 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. In the car boot sale arranged in spring 2014, a partner to the project was a company specialising in efficient recycling. With this partner, we carried out a campaign for the collection of used spectacles and sunglasses. A total of 10,000 pairs of spectacles and 2,000 pairs of sunglasses were collected during the car boot fair. The glasses were then delivered to Tanzania by an international eye specialists’ humanitarian organisation.
Alma Media and the future stars
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 Finnish Children and Youth Foundation (FCYF), carried out for the fourth time in 2014. The Responsible Summer Job 2014 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 2014, a total of 161 employers joined the campaign to offer over 33,000 responsible summer jobs. The campaign continues in 2015, now with the Finnish Economic Information Office TAT at the helm instead of the FCYF. The objective is to have more employers participate.
For the second consecutive year, Aamulehti is involved in systematic co-operation with the Pirkanmaa Me & MyCity. A miniature enterprise that carries the name of the partner will be designed and built in the Me & MyCity learning environment. Each day, three to five sixth graders work there in jobs that simulate real-life professions. Each school year, a total of 5,000 sixth graders have visited the Pirkanmaa Me& My City to learn about the business and operations of the partner. They are future employees, consumers and citizens.