About Uutisraivaaja

Purpose

Uutisraivaaja is a media innovation contest organized by the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation. The contest seeks ideas for developing the distribution of information and creating sustainable business models for journalism. The idea can be a new way to gather or publish information online, for example, or a new revenue model for publishing content. You can participate by submitting your idea online.

Schedule and award

The application period for Uutisraivaaja begins September 19th, 2016, and ends January 17th, 2017. The finalists will be chosen in March 2017, and the winner/s will be announced in the fall 2017.

The best idea will be given the Uutisraivaaja Award for implementing the proposal.

A small number of proposals will be chosen as finalists, and they will receive seed funding to develop their proposals further.

Criteria

The idea should be groundbreaking and improve the distribution of information. The idea must be first implemented in Finland, either nationwide or in a local community.

The application can be submitted either in Finnish or in English. Anyone can apply for the Uutisraivaaja Award: individuals, groups, organizations and companies. If the applicant is a company, the company must have been established by the time of submitting the application.

The applicant, or if a group applies, one of its members, must be at least 18 years old. The applicant must have his/her official place of domicile in Finland. If the application is submitted by a group, at least one group member must have an official place of domicile in Finland.

 

The jury

The members of the contest jury are as follows:

Pekka Ala-Pietilä, Chairman of the Board, Sanoma, Chairman of the Jury
Tanja Aitamurto, Postdoctoral Scholar, Stanford University
Jyrki Ali-Yrkkö, Head of Unit, the Research Institute of the Finnish Economy (ETLA)
Maija Itkonen, Managing Director, Gold & Green Foods
Ulla Koski, President, the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation
Mikko Koskinen, Uutisraivaaja winner, founder of Kyrö Distillery Company

Prereview board

David Cohn, Senior Director, Advance Digital
Juho Ojala, CEO, Lucify
Juho Lindman, Assistant Professor, University of Gothenburg,
Ville Sundberg, CEO, Kihapp
Johanna Vehkoo, Founder, Long Play
Wendy Norris, CEO, Tekhne.co
Tanja Aitamurto, Postdoctoral fellow, Stanford University, Chair of the Prereview board

 


Frequently Asked Questions

About the contest

What is the Uutisraivaaja Media Innovation Challenge?

Uutisraivaaja is a media innovation challenge sponsored by the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation. The purpose is to find the best ideas for developing new and old media and the distribution of information. The winner or winners of the challenge will implement their idea with the Uutisraivaaja Award, which is in maximum 250,000 euros.

You can participate in the Uutisraivaaja Media Innovation Challenge by submitting your proposal for a media innovation in an application form and attachments. The application form is here.

The application form must be filled out and sent with the required attachments to [email protected] by 5pm Finnish Time (UTC+02:00) on January 17th 2017 at the latest. The Helsingin Sanomat Foundation doesn’t accept any other ways of submitting proposals to the Uutisraivaaja Media Innovation Challenge. The Helsingin Sanomat Foundation doesn’t accept applications that are submitted after the deadline or that are incomplete. The application form and all the attachments must be in the same email.

Uutisraivaaja was inspired by the Knight News Challenge, a media innovation contest sponsored by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in the United States.

Why has the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation established the Uutisraivaaja Contest?

With the rapid transformation occurring in media, there is a constant need for innovations. Innovations often arise from exploration and experiment. By organizing the Uutisraivaaja Challenge the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation is hoping to promote innovation and development in media.

Can the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation use or implement the ideas thus received?

The Helsingin Sanomat Foundation will not submit to other parties, use, or carry out the ideas received through the Uutisraivaaja Contest. The purpose of the contest is to find the best ideas, and those ideas will receive development funds from the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation.

The winner of the contest will be announced in Fall 2017. He or she will be expected to report openly on the project. This is also the practice in the Uutisraivaaja’s American model, the Knight News Challenge. The winner of the competition will tell about the progress of the project in a blog. Thereby, he or she will be sharing the information learned, which will serve to advance media innovations at large.

Schedule

What is the procedure and schedule in Uutisraivaaja?

The application period begins on September 19, 2016 and the deadline is 17th January 2017 at 5pm Eastern European Time (the timezone Finland is in).

The contest has two phases. The deadline for the applications is January 17, 2017. The best ideas are given feedback by the review board and the jury. The applicants will then have a chance to develop their idea further for a couple of weeks in February 2017, and then resubmit their proposal.

Out of these improved applications, the best ideas will be chosen as finalists for the second phase. The finalists will receive initial funding to develop their projects further until the Fall 2017. The Helsingin Sanomat Foundation will decide on the size of the sum to be awarded. The amount will depend, among other things, on the scope of the proposed project and the total requested in the project application. At the finalist stage, the finalists will be developing their projects as far as possible.

The winner or the winners will be announced in the Fall 2017. The Uutisraivaaja Award can be awarded either to one idea, or to several ideas. The awarded sum is in maximum 250,000 euros, and it can be distributed to one or several ideas.

The winner is required to carry out his or her project with the sum awarded as well as to report regularly on its progress on a blog. Reporting on the work publicly promotes learning from the experiment and spreads the newly gained knowledge.

Uutisraivaaja period (mentioned in the application form) means the working period funded with Uutisraivaaja money. For example, if your team wins the competition in the fall of 2017, Uutisraivaaja period will start then. You team will have to define, how long the money will last for, for example the years 2017 and 2018.

Criteria

What kinds of ideas are likely to succeed in the Uutisraivaaja Contest?

You have a chance of winning, if your idea fullfils the core criteria of the contest.

The contest criteria are as follows:

  1. The idea must be groundbreaking and improve distribution of information, either in old or new media.
  2. The project must be first implemented in Finland, either nationwide or in a local community.

With what kind of an idea can one participate in the contest?

The idea should improve distribution of information. For example, the idea
can be a new revenue model or a new way to publish, collect, or compile information. But your task is to develop the idea and the plan for carrying it out: we help you in implementing it by providing funding.

Check out the 2012-2013 Uutisraivaaja finalist projects here.
Check out the 2010-2011 finalist projects here

In 2013 the Uutisraivaaja winner was a Long Play, a service for slow journalism. In 2011 the Uutisraivaaja winner was Scoopinion, a content recommendation and distribution service.

Who can apply

Who can participate in the contest?

Anyone can participate in the contest, regardless of their professional background or training. The participants can be individuals as well as groups, organizations, and businesses. Participants must be at least 18 years old. If a group submits a project, one member of the group must be at least 18 years old.

The applicant must have his/her official place of domicile in Finland. If the application is submitted by a group, at least one group member must have an official place of domicile in Finland.

You can participate in the contest with several different applications and/or teams.

I live abroad. Can I participate in the contest?

The applicant must have his/her official place of domicile in Finland. If the application is submitted by a group, at least one group member must have an official place of domicile in Finland. Also, please note that one of the criteria for the contest is that the winner must first carry out their idea first in Finland, either nationwide or in a local community.

I am not Finnish, and I do not speak Finnish. Can I participate in the contest?

Yes, you can. The application can be filled out in Finnish or in English. Remember, however, that the applicant must have his/her official place of domicile in Finland. If the application is submitted by a group, at least one group member must have an official place of domicile in Finland. Also, please note that the Uutisraivaaja winner/winners must first carry out the idea in Finland, either nationwide or in a local community, according to the contest criteria.

Can a business really succeed in the contest?

Yes, absolutely, as long as the idea fulfills the contest criteria. The contest is open to everyone, unlike many other funding channels. If the applicant is a company, the company must be established before applying to the Uutisraivaaja innovation challenge.

Application

I want to participate in the Uutisraivaaja Media Innovation Challenge. What do I need to do?

Read all the materials on this website, including the Frequently Asked Questions. Read the blog posts at the Uutisraivaaja website. Come up with an idea of media innovation, do research for “the state of the art” review and develop a proposal of your idea. Plan how to realize the idea and download the the application here.

The application form must be completed and submitted via email. The Helsingin Sanomat Foundation doesn’t accept any other ways of submitting proposals to the Uutisraivaaja Media Innovation Challenge. The Helsingin Sanomat Foundation doesn’t accept applications that are submitted after the deadline. Read more here »

What makes a good application?

The idea presented in the application should be groundbreaking, and it should improve distribution of information, whether in old or new media. Your application should be clear, incisive, and informative, and it should show your knowledge about the area of your idea. The business plan should be realistic. The winner of the Knight News Challenge gives hints for a good application.

Does the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation assist with planning the idea and in developing the business plan?

No, you must do these yourself. You are the expert on your idea. Already at the application phase we encourage the applicants to network in different areas of expertise, such technological know-how, so that you are able to make a thorough and informed application.

As for the budget, it is advisable to justify the costs for your idea as precisely as possible. Explain the budget for the revenue and costs of your project. We want to know where the money will go and where it comes from and how you will make your operation sustainable once the Uutisraivaaja funding period has ended.

Can I apply together with another person, organization or a company?

Yes, we encourage collaboration.

My idea doesn’t require a lot of funding, and it won’t take 250,000 euros to implement it. Can I still apply?

Absolutely! The winner of the contest will received in maximum 250,000 euros, so you can apply for a smaller amount of funding and succeed. The Uutisraivaaja Challenge can award several ideas.

About the funding

How much money will the winner or winners receive?

In the first phase of the contest, seed money will be granted to the best applications. With that funding the finalists will develop their ideas further. The amount awarded will be determined by the total cost in the application. The sum can be, for example, 5,000 to 10,000 euros. The final sum will be determined by the application’s realistically demonstrated total costs.

At the second phase, the maximum amount to the winning application is 250,000 euros. If there are several outstanding applicants, then the funds will be divided among them. If none of the ideas produced in the Uutisraivaaja Media Innovation Challenge meets the criteria set by the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation, then no funding awards will be given.

What does the Uutisraivaaja funding cover?

The funding covers the costs of carrying out the idea, as well as the potential programming expenses, including production costs and marketing. Explain in your application how you intend to use the funding.

What happens if I win the Uutisraivaaja Award, but because of illness, I am unable to carry out my project?

The winners will sign a contract with the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation, whereby they pledge to carry out their idea proposal with the funding received. The funding will be paid in increments, and the winner will report to the Foundation on the progress of his or her project at certain intervals. If the work does not proceed according to the contract, the Foundation reserves the right to withhold further payments.

What can the funding be used for?

The funds have to be used in accordance with the plan presented in your application. The recipient of the funds is required to use the funding in order to carry out his or her plan.

If I win the Uutisraivaaja Award, must I leave my current job?

You do not have to leave your current job if you can carry out your project at the same time. However, the most ambitious projects probably require exceptional personal as well as time commitments.

The jury

Who makes up the jury and the preliminary council for the contest?

The members of the contest jury are as follows:

Pekka Ala-Pietilä, Chairman of the Board, Sanoma, Chairman of the Jury
Tanja Aitamurto, Deputy Director, The Brown Institute for Media Innovation
Jyrki Ali-Yrkkö, Head of Unit, the Research Institute of the Finnish Economy (ETLA)
Maija Itkonen, Managing Director, Gold & Green Foods
Ulla Koski, President, the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation
Mikko Koskinen, Uutisraivaaja winner, founder of Kyrö Distillery Company

Prereview board
Juho Ojala, CEO, Lucify
Juho Lindman, Assistant Professor, University of Gothenburg,
Maisa Lehtovuori, Development Lead, STT-Finnish News Agency
Ville Sundberg, CEO, Kihapp
Johanna Vehkoo, Founder, Long Play
Wendy Norris, CEO, Tekhne.co
Tanja Aitamurto, Postdoctoral fellow, Stanford University, Chair of the Prereview board

Miscellaneous

Who owns the innovations and the ideas funded by the Uutisraivaaja Contest?

The inventor of the idea. The Helsingin Sanomat Foundation does not own the intellectual property rights to the ideas; these rights belong solely to the originators.

Who will read my application?

Employees of the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation, the contest coordinator, the review board, the jury, and if needed, external experts. Everyone has the obligation to respect professional confidentiality, which prevents them from conveying the ideas presented in the applications to other parties. Professional confidentiality is ensured with a written agreement.

Feedback

Do the applicants get feedback for their applications?

No, not all the applicants will get feedback. The applicants that are chosen for the finalist round will get feedback.