Don’t look away – Ilta-Sanomat wants readers to take action
For one week in October 2016, Ilta-Sanomat ran feature stories about tragedies experienced in Syria.
On 24 October 2016, the week dedicated to Aleppo began with front page news on the Ilta-Sanomat website that urged readers to sincerely look at the people living amidst war in Syria. In addition, Aleppo was the main headline on newspaper billboards.
Every day throughout the week, the topic was front page news in the tabloid and on the billboard. On the website, it was the cover story on the first day and one of three main stories for the rest of the week. Over the course of the week, several spreads each day were dedicated to Aleppo, and more than 50 stories were published online about the topic. ISTV aired studio discussions, infographic videos and news videos, and the topic was highly visible on its social media channels.
“The purpose was to communicate that closing our eyes is the worst response to the situation,” says News Editor Valtteri Varpela. “Through the news stories, we wanted people to realise what the crisis is about and what is going on in Syria, as well as to provide information about how they can help the people in Syria, particularly the children living amidst the war.”
Reader response was very positive, and the high visibility also translated into actual support. Throughout the week, Ilta-Sanomat listed humanitarian organisations present in Aleppo. The level of support for these organisations increased considerably and was 35 times higher than normal in some cases. Even though Syria had been discussed for several weeks during the autumn, support for the organisations peaked during the week dedicated to Aleppo.
The campaign was a natural way for Ilta-Sanomat to take responsibility. “Ilta-Sanomat has more than one million readers. We want to provide background information and inspire action. It is important for us to tell people how they can support or help,” says Editor-in-Chief Ulla Appelsin.
Ilta-Sanomat runs extensive campaigns on two or three topics per year, with a large number of stories. Recent topics have included mental health and freedom of speech, to name just two examples. The week around Valentine’s Day – or Friend’s Day, as it is better known in Finland – is dedicated to caring about others. During that time, Ilta-Sanomat highlights good deeds done for other people and the environment.
The week dedicated to Aleppo has been nominated as a Journalistic action of 2016. The winners of each category of the Finnish Journalistic Awards will be published on 14 March 2017.
The week dedicated to Aleppo is an example of Sanoma’s content impact. Read more about our impacts on individuals and societies from our Corporate Social Responsibility report in March 2017.
In terms of total reach, Ilta-Sanomat is the most widely read news outlet in Finland. More than 31 million visits to its websites are recorded each week. IS reaches 2.2 million people through its channels weekly.