Two years ago, on 3 December 2018, Foreigner.fi was born.
I decided to launch the journal after immigrating for family reasons and after verifying that foreigners in Finland needed a reliable source of information, capable of helping them integrate and contribute to a better knowledge of their host country.
Another reason for launching Foreigner.fi was that, unfortunately, in those days the public debate around immigration in Finland was dominated by the idea that the presence of foreigners in the country is a problem. With our journal - I said - we are also going to show the potential, the talent and the cultural richness that hides behind this heterogeneous group of people, which is as varied as each of its members, and yet often described with a single word, "immigrants."
It took me several months of intense work to prepare what, as time goes by, we can say that it has become the digital journal of reference for immigrants living in Finland, for foreigners who come as tourists and for thousands of Finland's enthusiasts around the world. Launching it was not very difficult, in my favor I had two decades of experience as a journalist and I had been editor-in-chief of two digital newspapers in my home country. The really hard thing has been to get here.
It's true, things haven't been easy during these two years. We have had to struggle to make a niche for ourselves in a very competitive environment, amid general indifference, with few resources and with the added difficulty of a global pandemic that has limited the scope for many businesses to develop.
But here we are. Success and audience growth are backing us. In our first year of existence we already exceeded one million page visits by far, and at this point in 2020 we have more than tripled that record. And we keep adding.
Our principles remain intact
Foreigner.fi remains faithful to the same principles explained in the editorial that accompanied its birth. We want to be an informative reference for thousands of foreigners who do not know the Finnish language but want to be up to date with important news from the country and with the issues that affect them. We also want to help our readers to know the legal changes that concern immigrants, their rights and obligations. And, above all, we want to be a link between Finnish and foreign citizens.
That does not mean, however, that we should be mere passive observers. Those of us who make Foreigner.fi are journalists and therefore we carry out our work with the critical spirit that must accompany good journalism. Of course, always with the utmost respect for the laws, institutions, citizens and residents of Finland.
Some of you have also criticized us at times for the treatment of some news that concern foreigners. And I think that is something positive, a sign that what we do matters. As editor-in-chief I must explain that writing a newspaper for foreigners does not mean always being on their side. We are on the side of the law, of freedom, of human rights and of all the people who defend them with honesty. Therefore, when a foreigner commits a crime or breaks the rules, we must also report it.
Going forward, we encourage our readers to get in touch with us to explain through our pages any injustices they suffer, always with words, reasons, respect.
Today I also feel obliged to express my gratitude to the people - journalists, professionals, companies, social and governmental organizations - who have cooperated with this project since its inception. Especially to the contributors who have helped with their articles and columns to make the newspaper bigger, richer, more interesting, more useful.
And above all, I want to thank the many thousands of people who read us everyday. My greatest wish is to continue growing and working for you for many years to come.