One of the two leading tabloids
The Iltalehti newspaper first saw the light of day in October 1980. In 1999 its circulation was 128 881 copies, with a 7% increase over 1998. The paper comes out every workday, with a thicker weekend edition.
The magazine is owned by Alpress, a subcompany of Alma Media which also controls many other Finnish media including the MTV3 and TVTV! television channels, plus countless other newspapers.
Petri Hakala is the current executive editor, replacing Pekka Karhuvaara who left for the CEO position at MTV3 in December 2001.
Iltalehti can also be read at http://www.iltalehti.fi/. All web content is viewable for free nowadays. It's all in Finnish though, and requires registeration. (foobar/foobar will most likely work)
So, what's the content like?
Iltalehti is filled with quite usual tabloid material. No "Elvis landed outside on an UFO and ate my baby" -style articles, but tons of sensationalism, subjectivity and less-than-commendable journalism. Big pictures take up 90% of the pages, with not much space for actual text.
A favorite method for Iltalehti for filling the blank pages seems to be sprouting articles about the private lives of so-called "unnecessary celebrities", the more sensational the better. For years the best source for such stories has been Matti Nykänen, from his short striptease career to the drinking and spousal abuse. Whenever the editors can write something bad about a well-known person to sell more copies of their tabloid, they'll do it whether it is true or not. In the US this would result in plenty of lawsuits, but here in Finland most of the lesser celebrities aren't rich enough to spend their cash on lawyers. So most of them clear these issues by giving an interview to a rival paper to inform the country about the wrongdoings of Iltalehti.
If all else fails, buxom blondes and cleavage never fail to sell the paper. A few years ago Iltalehti took this to a hilarious extent by having the Pamela-like violin player Linda Lampenius in the headlines nearly every day for months in a row. No, she wasn't doing anything noteworthy at the time. Among the paper's latest ventures into the realm of hardcore investigative journalism has been filling up a month worth of magazines with articles and interviews about the ex. Miss Finland Lola Odusoga's new breast implants.
Oh, did I mention the weekend edition always has cleavage on the cover? Always. There must be a law I'm not familiar with that is forcing them to this. Not that there's anything wrong with that (except maybe objectifying women). It's just such a painfully obvious (albeit successful) attempt at reaching the lowest common denominator.
If all the big breasted celebrities happen to be simultaneously unreachable getting new implants installed, Karhuvaara and co. have one ace left in their sleeve: plugging MTV3 programs.
Last December, on a very slow news day, 3 of the main articles were basicially transcripts of
documentary programs and talk shows shown on MTV3 the night before. I guess people who were interested in the programs and missed them might appreciate this, but I personally don't see the point to pay for something you could've watched for free* last night.
Then there is the lack of objectivity.
Iltalehti leans heavily towards the Keskusta party, whose representatives have several times called for the death penalty for drug dealers. Not surprisingly, the articles on narcotics are extremely biased and often go to extremes. Granted, sometimes a person may be featured voicing out intelligent comments on the issue. But Iltalehti quickly takes this back by printing at least 5 fanatical pro-WOSD items for each reasonable one.
To assure that the spreading of misinformation and hysteria never stops, the tabloid has even hired the notorious Ritva Santavuori as a regular columnist. Her delusional rants can be found in Iltalehti each week.
In summary: don't rely on Iltalehti to give you cutting edge coverage or insightful articles. But if you're a fan of sensationalism, celebrity gossip and tabloids, there may be worse choices out there.
By the way, the name comes from the finnish words for evening (ilta) and magazine (lehti).
For free, when not counting the television licence we have to pay anyway.
Info for the non-rant part of the writeup came from the websites of Iltalehti and Alma Media.