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Tuulensuu to steer Aamulehti into a bright future

Aamulehti's new editor-in-chief shares his recipes for the media's future as well as for cooking fish.

Journalists can be hard to interview, but Jussi Tuulensuu is the opposite, enjoying his dish of Arctic char during our meeting in a restaurant in Helsinki. He considers before he says anything and speaks mainly using main clauses. Even when he becomes excited, he retains his composure.

During his career, Aamulehti's new editor-in-chief has gained a reputation as a design specialist, but he has had no problem in swapping the designer's stool to an editor's more comfortable leather armchair. "Designers have a wide and customer-oriented approach, and it's often the designers who pay more attention to customers than anybody else in the editorial office. They focus on how people see and find things."

Aamulehti's new editor-in-chief Jussi Tuulensuu has great expectations for the city and residents of Tampere.

This brings us to the core of the work community and the entire business: after all, it is all about being able to see things from other people's perspective.

"This means considering the question of how people move around in the media without the need to ask or think about it. The job has similarities with architecture."

Going mobile is the only way

Tuulensuu will face huge reorganisation projects at Aamulehti. He will certainly be able to cope with everything, as both his career and the man himself are proof of an ability to multitask. During lunch, he shares his fish recipes and tells me about the apps that make a journalist's job easier.

He has a clear view of where Aamulehti should be going.

"Just like in any paper, the main issue is to completely focus on mobile services. This is clear from analytics as well as from the reader feedback. The fact that the profit still comes from the printed paper is a challenge, and we must ensure that this is dealt with properly."

The future of the press requires a big rethink. Tuulensuu explains how the American Tribune chain, for example, has been divided into separate companies; the printed papers form their own company, which 'works like a highly tuned engine', while the other company focuses on growing the electronic operations.

The focus must firmly stay on developing the digital business.

This method cannot be introduced to Aamulehti as such, but the focus must firmly stay on developing the digital business. This will also take those who are not into digital media into consideration.

"What's important is to answer the questions that our readers find essential. We have to produce, in a cost-efficient manner, content that adapts to and exists for our readers."

Nobody knows exactly what this content is like. "But we know for sure that whatever we do needs to be done differently. It's easier to meet more specific demands of a small group of people. It's harder to be unique in a regional paper."

Regional paper making the world a better place

Aamulehti has a solid readership in the Pirkanmaa region, and it is not threatened by competition for news from the other local media. "Social media is not the only competitor we have, we also compete with sports, going out for walks or to the pub, Nordic walking, boating and travelling; people are busy doing things."

A regional paper has a responsibility, however, to be involved in the development of the region. "The aim of the paper is to produce added value, and Aamulehti wants to make Tampere a better place. Sometimes this can mean taking a critical view."

Aamulehti wants to make Tampere a better place.

Tuulensuu trusts his team's ability to improve Tampere and the world in general. "People know their jobs and they have a great attitude. When faced with a new thing, they don't ask if it's OK – their reaction is simply: 'well, alright, let's get it done'."

In his previous jobs, Jussi Tuulensuu managed teams of up to ten people but he now has a team of a hundred working for him. His management philosophy relies on putting himself into the shoes of others; the reader-oriented approach: "What can we do for you?"

The manager must think about the future and make the others think about it too. "The editor-in-chief must find the small steps that can be taken bravely to get from here to the future. This is what I communicate every day. Management is communication, over and over again."

Are you nervous about the new job?

"No, I'm excited!"

A designer with a fast-paced career


Jussi Tuulensuu was born in Hämeenlinna but spent his youth in Halikko, reading the local paper Salon Seudun Sanomat. Even as a child he was fascinated by typography. "I read everything about typography that I could get my hands on, and I used Xerox Ventura for practicing desktop publishing at my father's workplace."

Tuulensuu moved to Tampere in 1996 to study journalism as this was the quickest way to enter the business. Soon he decided to study design, as, just like journalism, it requires an in-depth understanding of content. "It opens your mind to user-centred philosophy."

Tuulensuu spent almost ten years in Tampere and while studying, he also worked at the student magazine Aviisi and Aamulehti and had summer jobs at Savon Sanomat and Riihimäen Sanomat.

In 2005 he started at Journalisti as an AD, and moved on to Kauppalehti Optio in 2009. Three years later he became the head of design at Sanomat, where he was in charge of the car, technology and science titles in the company's magazines unit and developed new concepts. Before moving to Aamulehti, Tuulensuu managed the implementation of new editorial system across the Sanomat magazines.

The new editor-in-chief is happy to be moving from Kirkkonummi back to Tampere. "Tampere is a lively city but it still has space to breathe; as an environment it's not as stressful as Helsinki can be."