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Speculation swirls as Helsingin Sanomat editors quit

Three top editors of Finland's biggest newspaper tweeted news of their resignations on Thursday, setting off heated speculation as to their motives and plans. Meanwhile a popular investment writer compared the Sanoma group to a sinking ship.

Vasemmalta lukien Reetta Räty, Paula Salovaara ja Ville Blåfield.
Outgoing editors Reetta Räty, Paula Salovaara and Ville Blåfield Image: Kimmo Mäntylä / Pekka Sakki / Antti Aimo-Koivisto / Lehtikuva

On Thursday, Helsingin Sanomat managing editors Reetta Räty and Paula Salovaara and development manager Ville Blåfield announced their resignations via Twitter.

Their decision to jump ship comes two months after the firing of broadsheet’s former senior editor-in-chief, Mikael Pentikäinen.

His successor, Riikka Venäläinen, told Yle on Thursday that she had expected their departures, though the timing was a surprise.

She denied any connection to Pentikäinen’s sacking, or that there are any problems in the workplace atmosphere at Helsingin Sanomat. The trio’s departure leaves Venäläinen and four men on the paper’s editorial board.

Tight-lipped about next project

The three departing editors are setting up a new firm for an unspecified project in the media sector.

There had been speculation that the move could be related to the paper's recently-announced plans to shut down the loss-making Radio Helsinki, which it has owned since 2005.

The radio station was co-founded by Paula Salovaara, one of the resigning editors. However she told the tabloid Ilta-Sanomat that their departures are not related to Radio Helsinki.

Blogger: Sanoma on a collision course

Ilta-Sanomat is also owned by the Sanoma conglomerate, which issued a profit warning on Tuesday – its fourth within a year and a half. Sanoma is one of northern Europe’s biggest media groups.

In a blog posting on Thursday, Nordnet stockbroker and author Jukka Oksaharju slammed Sanoma’s management for its inability to gauge the company’s performance. He compared Sanoma in its current state to the Costa Concordia cruise ship, which sank off the Italian coast last year.

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