1889 as Päivälehti |
1905 as Helsingin Sanomat
Helsingin Sanomat, abbreviated HS and colloquially known as Hesari, is the largest subscription newspaper in Finland and the Nordic countries, owned by Sanoma. Except after certain holidays, it is published daily. Its name derives from that of the Finnish capital, Helsinki, where it is published.
History and profile
Political censorship by the Russian authorities, prompted by the paper's strong advocacy of greater Finnish freedoms and even outright independence, forced Päivälehti to often temporarily suspend publication, and finally to close permanently in 1904. Its proprietors re-opened the paper under its current name in 1905.
Originally founded as the organ of the Young Finnish Party, the paper has been politically independent and non-aligned since the 1932.
The relationship between the owners of Helsingin Sanomat and Finland's government have sometimes been close. For instance, during the run-up to the Winter War, Eljas Erkko was at the same time the paper's publisher and Finland's foreign minister.
Mikael Pentikäinen was the editor-in-chief until May 2013 when he was fired from the post. Riikka Venäläinen replaced him temporarily in the post.
Helsingin Sanomat is published daily in Finnish in tabloid format with the exception of the days after public holidays when the paper does not appear. The only exception to this is the day after Finnish independence day (7 December) when the revenue from Christmas advertising ensures an edition after that public holiday. Subscriptions make up 97% of the newspaper's circulation and the lack of a need to attract casual readers on newsstands had led to the front page usually being totally devoted to advertisements. (However, a few events have been important enough to be reported on the front page, without any advertisements.)
The newspaper was published in broadsheet format until 6 January 2013.
The paper also has a monthly supplement named Kuukausiliite (Finnish for "Monthly Supplement"), and a weekly TV guide and entertainment-oriented supplement named Nyt ("Now"). Between 1999 and 2012 there were also both Finnish and English-language online newspaper editions.
Helsingin Sanomat is published daily for the iPad. iPad version of Helsingin Sanomat resembles the newspaper's traditional version but is optimized for the tablet device. Content of Helsingin Sanomat can be accessed through other mobile devices as well.
Circulation and influence
The circulation of Helsingin Sanomat was 476,163 copies in 1993, making it the most read newspaper in Finland. In the period of 1995-96 the paper had a circulation of 470,600 copies. Its circulation was 446,380 copies in 2001, making it the largest paper in the country. In 2008 its daily circulation was 412,421 on weekdays (a change of −1.8% from 2007) and 468,505 on Sundays (−1.3%). In 2011 the daily had a circulation of 365,994 copies, making it the most read paper in the country. The same year it was also the largest paper in terms of readership.
The paper has a penetration of approximately 75% of the households of the Greater Helsinki region, and also functions as the local paper of the region (together with Swedish-language Hufvudstadsbladet). Its total daily circulation is well over 400,000, or about 8% of Finland's total population, making it the biggest daily subscription newspaper in the Nordic countries.
The paper is a significant factor in Finnish society and in public opinion. Pertti Klemola, a Finnish journalist and scholar, once called it a state authority, an institution with its own independent social and political will.
Helsingin Sanomat strongly advocated Finland joining the European Union in the run-up to the decision to do so in 1994. It has also openly expressed support for Finland's membership of NATO. In fact, it supports the participation of Finland in all Western institutions.
The website of the paper is one of the most important sources of news in Finnish on the web. In June 2009 the site was the sixth most popular Finnish website. In 2010 it was the seventh most visited website in Finland in 2010 and was visited by 1,236,527 people per week.
Helsingin Sanomat International Edition
The English language section of the Helsingin Sanomat website, the Helsingin Sanomat International Edition (HSIE) ran for thirteen years.
The International Edition launched on 14 September 1999 with the aim of informing readers of news from Finland during the Finnish presidency of the European Union. It continued after the European presidency owing to the quantity of readers it was getting became one of the major English-language sources of news regarding Finland—making it popular with English-speaking immigrants to the country.
The Helsingin Sanomat International Edition closed down on 26 October 2012. English material is now published in cooperation with Helsinki Times weekly newspaper. For a while, Helsingin Sanomat also published some of its material in Russian, but the service was discontinued on 6 October 2014.
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