2021 Pro Gradu Award goes to Heidi Tuohimaa
The winner of the 2021 Pro Gradu Award, Heidi Tuohimaa (M.Soc.Sc., University of Lapland), examined in her thesis the news coverage of earnings-related pension insurance companies and the related framework in Finland’s largest daily paper Helsingin Sanomat. Each year, the Finnish Centre for Pensions grants a Pro Gradu Award to a distinguished Master’s thesis.
Tuohimaa, who works in the earnings-related pension field, finds that the news coverage relating to earnings-related pension providers is conducted from a critical stance. She was not surprised by this finding. The aim of her thesis was to explore if the earnings-related pension field is pronouncedly negative or sensitive to the news coverage of the pension field or whether the news are, in fact, rather neutral.
“I analysed news material over a period of six years (2015–2021). Based on that, I concluded that also the framework for the news coverage was rather critical.”
Public discussion of overall pension system?
Based on her research, what kind of public discussion about the pension field, and what forum for it, would Tuohimaa like to see?
According to her, earnings-related pension insurance companies participate in the discussion through their external communication, but the communication does not necessarily reach the same public as the news coverage in Helsingin Sanomat does.
“I wish people were more interested in the pension system. After all, it concerns all of us. Usually, pensions are examined through a single phenomenon, such as the rising retirement age or the pension contributions. Doing that does not give a broad picture of what goes on in the system on an overall level.”
Jukka Kivekäs evaluated the theses
This year, Jukka Kivekäs (D.Med.Sc, docent of insurance medicine) evaluated the theses nominated for the Pro Gradu Award.
According to him, Tuohimaa’s research brings new perspectives to the discussion of the earnings-related pension field and its analysis.
“The thesis is very interesting reading, not only for those working in communication and management within the earnings-related pension system, but also for all who are at least somewhat familiar with the system and who want to develop a critical stance to reading”, Kivekäs assesses.
He finds that Tuohimaa’s teaches the common reader to be critical towards information presented in media. In addition, the reader learns to see the consciously or unconsciously selected broader frameworks underlying written texts.
The Pro Gradu Award of the Finnish Centre for Pensions is granted to a distinguished Master’s thesis on a topic of interest to pension provision and accepted at a Finnish university in the previous calendar year. All disciplines are considered. The award is 2,000 euros.