The evolving digital media group dominates Pohjanmaa's media

The evolving digital media group dominates Pohjanmaa's media

I-Mediat's digital revolution in Pohjanmaa's media landscape
I-Mediat is a publishing company owned by the listed company Ilkka Oyj, under the leadership of which various magazines and digital publications have undergone significant renewal in recent years. The revolution in the media field is booming at least in Finland, but a lot of work has also been put into it. At the forefront is a strong strategy for both digital and artificial intelligence. Development is not just one-off tricks, but ongoing enhancement, which is done with good partners who have also internalized their client's goals and strategies. With continuous development, continuous improvement is created and we move from the project world to the process of continuous improvement.

Ilkka-Pohjalainen, the provincial media of Pohjanmaa and South Pohjanmaa, published six times a week, is the flagship of I-Mediat Oy. The publishing company also publishes two city newspapers Vaasa and Epar and five local newspapers Järviseutu, Jurvan Sanomat, Komiat, Viiskunta and Suupohjan Sanomat. All of these are delivered and published using the Bold CMS system, the delivery and further development of which is handled by Fiare Media Tools. Frontend has been implemented by Fiare Media Tools using the Malibu Javascript framework.

Entire delivery in one CMS system – Bold supporting genuine multi-publishing

Ilkka-Pohjalainen has experienced a significant digital change in recent years. Development Manager Maija Saanio opens the journey of magazines towards the modern media field. Ilkka-Pohjalainen's story with Bold began when the entire content production moved to produce and publish text content in the new system. Provincial media, local newspapers and city newspapers found a common platform that enables the cross-use of content between different brands. I-Mediat uses the headless CMS system Bold as a shared back end. So there is one common tool for all eight magazines and eight different sites where articles are published, and of course the print magazines, which get their material from the same background system.

"In the first phase, we are combining the offer of the provincial newspaper and the city newspapers into one smooth reading experience for our readers," explains Saanio, whose own background also forms the basis for the editor's work in the same group, about the near-term reform. "Digital media is a strategy for us," Saanio says. "We have taken good steps in personalization and we will invest heavily in it in the future as well. Personalization supports local content and especially its discoverability for the reader. For example, the reader could choose, for example, to see all the stories that concern his hometown, even if they were published in any publication."

Responding to the upheaval of the digital world requires constant adaptation and development. "The consumer consumes content, and in the end it doesn't matter which brand made it. So product-centric thinking becomes content-centric."

As part of the acquisition, Bold CMS was chosen to align with larger goals. Fiare Media tools has understood and embraced our strategic goals.
As part of the acquisition, Bold CMS was chosen to align with larger goals. Fiare Media tools has understood and embraced our strategic goals. Maija Saanio, Development Manager @Ilkka

Not as a project but as a process - continuous development as a service

From the beginning, it has been clear that the content management system was not just purchased for use, but a solution was acquired that develops towards a big goal and takes time. In this case, it is also necessary that the system supplier lives with and is aware of the strategic goals.

"It has been really important for us to have regular contact and functioning structures. It's really easy when we get solutions and ideas and sometimes we are even challenged to see if things could be done differently. We don't expect any ready-made solutions, but active thinking on our behalf", Saanio praises.

Saanio says that I-Mediat has focused on strongly reforming workflows in recent years. The new system is not supposed to fit into the old work processes, but you have to change the way of doing things yourself, in order to get as much as possible out of the new system.

From the beginning, I-Mediat has acquired a continuous development service from Fiare Media Tools, where the customer regularly reserves development resources on a monthly basis and the work is allocated together on a monthly basis. In this way, the supplier also becomes an active party, and every thinking on behalf of the customer does not require an order, even though all jobs are marked afterwards.

Artificial intelligence is a good helper, but not suitable as a hostess at all

Artificial intelligence is also gradually taking on a role in I-Media's content production toolkit. "Using artificial intelligence is important to us. It enables even better content production and more efficient work. In particular, the assistant is still a question from the point of view of content production, and at least artificial intelligence is not yet the master or mistress of the house. There are strong reasons for this, because we must always carefully consider the ethical use of artificial intelligence in journalism, which has its own rules of the game. For example, we cannot afford to be flexible about the reliability of the content, says Saanio. However, the reader is at the center of everything. I-Mediat strives to offer its local readers high-quality and up-to-date content, be it in print or digital format. "Ultimately, all content is always made or checked by humans," Saanio stresses. "Artificial intelligence can be a helpful tool for us, but it doesn't replace human vision and creativity, at least not yet."

Ilkka-Pohjalainen is not just a newspaper, but it is part of the Pohjanmaa identity that connects people and stories across municipal borders and eras. Its digital transformation is a response to the changing media field and consumer needs, but at the same time it maintains its strong ties to the local community and traditions.

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