There are several weekly published local newspapers in Helsinki. Most weekly papers are owned and published by media companies and represent just one publication of many in the product selection of the company. However, there is one interesting exception to this rule: Lauttasaari newspaper.
Lauttasaari newspaper is published every week with 11 800 copies on the island of Lauttasaari, a neighbourhood just outside the Helsinki city centre. It is published and owned by Lauttasaari association, which employes a halftime editor and a fulltime journalist and advertisement salesperson. The newspaper has been published since 1968 and is a member of the Finnish Newspapers Association. The paper has 12 pages of which 7 were advertisements and 4 editorial material in last June.
Lauttasaari has managed to survive in the tough competition of print media. The chairman of the Lauttasaari association and the leader of the newspaper’s editorial council Katri Penttinen gives three main factors that have kept Lauttasaari above the surface:
- The newspaper has a long tradition in Lauttasaari.
- It has a very clear distribution area, because of the island location. Residents of Lauttasaari have a well defined identity.
- Lauttasaari association is committed in publishing the newspaper, it is a constant topic of discussion in the association and it is regarded as an important form of activity for the association.
One prerequisite for any successful publication is good quality. Lauttasaari newspaper is an important communication channel to the association, but takes into account a broader perspective too. The newspaper wants to tell about Lauttasaari neighbourhood as a whole to its residents. Relevant content keeps both readers and advertisers interested.
The current editorial team started a couple of years ago. This change also transformed the way the newspaper was produced. The editorial decisions are now well planned and the contents are selected to interest as wide a readerbase as possible. The editor-in-chief and the journalist both have a journalistic background. The editor bears the main responsibility of the newspaper, but the journalist takes care of the everyday editorial work. The editorial council creates guidelines for the publication. The journalist has also a couple of regular paid contributors to help her. Editorials are written by representatives of the association.
Before the new editorial team, there was a more or less regular group of contributors, who wrote mainly about subjects close to their hearts. Now the themes and topics are planned beforehand.
There has been competing newspapers in Lauttasaari area, but they have not survived. The old residents are traditionally the most loyal readers of the newspaper, but interest among the younger ones is increasing. Spontaneous feedback about the newspaper proves that the renewal process has been a success.
Last autumn Lauttasaari association made a survey on the residents opinions and ideas regarding the activities of the association. The survey also included questions regarding the newspaper. The survey received 212 replies in one month, which have helped to update the newspaper too.