Vision supports the local paper

Jari Mylläri made Moro a success and community in ten years.

Delivered with the Aamulehti newspaper, city paper Moro has done what many just dream about: it has included readers in the daily making of a newspaper. The visionary behind Moro is Jari Mylläri. Having worked for over ten years for Aamulehti, he became Moro’s producer in 2006.

Moro sausage is one of the many Moro products. Manufactured by Wigren, the sausage is here barbecued by producer Jari Mylläri and chef Santeri Vuosara.

Mylläri had a plan: activate readers and start using digital tools. After the layout and contents had been revamped and website and Facebook page created, Moro got a bunch of new readers.

“At its best, our readership increased 16 percent a year.”

In 2014, Moro had 225,000 readers; the number for 2015 is expected to be even higher, as Moro has been delivered since the beginning of last year to all households in Tampere and the surrounding area.

Attitude and the internet

Facebook activities such as competitions and reader events were at the core of Moro’s social media strategy in 2006 and still are now in 2016.

“Twitter and the others are just toys, not worth the investment,” Mylläri says.

Taking on a clear role is essential for the survival of a local newspaper, he says. The internet opens up a myriad of opportunities, and even in small places there will be demand for local media with an attitude. But survival will be hard if you try and create a full news service and recycle contents from the main newspaper at the same time.

Moro is about community spirit and activating readers.

“We give people the opportunity to come together.”

There's no such thing as independent journalism

For a printed newspaper, Moro has an exceptionally large selection of spin-off products. Moro hats, Moro sausage and Moro ice-cream are just starters. They are now establishing a Moro travel agency to take people from Tampere to various destinations, such as an exhibition about a manor in Vyborg in Museum Milavida in Tampere followed by a trip to Vyborg, Russia, itself.

“In future, our philosophy will be to expand the reality of Tampere outside Tampere,” Mylläri says.

He sees no contradiction between commercialisation and independent journalism.

“The so-called independent journalism may be important for journalists, but readers appreciate something that they feel familiar with and that is useful or brings them joy.”

Moro cooperates with public authorities, private businesses and the local church, and encourages other local media to do the same.

“It won’t happen in all the newspapers in my lifetime, but cooperation is our future.”

The hugely popular car boot sale is organised together with the Evangelical-Lutheran parishes of Tampere, and the proceeds are used for charitable purposes.

Three successful Moro campaigns

 1. Car boot sale

The crown jewel of Moro community events is the car boot sale organised twice a year.

“The first year we had a permission to take 40 cars to the Central Square of Tampere. When I called our organiser at six in the morning, he said that the first cars had arrived at five and the queue was stretching to the other side of town,” Jari Mylläri says. 

Next year there were slots for 450 cars, as still is today.

 2. Our party

Readers have been sending photos of their parties and events to Moro for years, but until 2006 these photos were only used as fillers here and there. In the layout reform, party photos were gathered to create impressive spreads.

“Some two thousand people appear in those photos every year now. I’ve often said that these photos are like the printed Facebook of Tampere,” Mylläri says.

 3. The rye bread course

In 2012, Moro organised with a local Rural Women’s Advisory Organisation a course on how to bake traditional rye bread. There were 800 applicants for 15 places.

“My phone was ringing almost nonstop when people I’d met decades ago tried to get in through the back door,” Mylläri says.
After the Moro campaign, the women’s organisation continued organising baking courses and sold about 500 doses of sourdough or rye bread starters.  

Date: 17 March 2016
Theme: Multichannel
Text: Viivi Koivu
Photos: Aamulehti archives: Ossi Ahola, Jukka Manninen, Merja Ojala

Three successful Moro campaigns

  1. Car boot sale
  2. Our party
  3. The rye bread course