Stop The Press Part I

The demolition of Kaleva Print was just the beginning of changes on the premises. The headquarters of newspaper Kaleva was still located in the older part of the complex, which was still standing. Every morning we went to work to a building, which had an intact facade, but the backside was a massive water filled hole and the back wall had formerly been offices.

The company bought a new location and started building there. When the summer ended, a date was announced: we would be out of the old offices by early December.

A frantic operation to clean up 51 years of newspaper history began. A part of the stuff was directly donated to museums, a part was sent to the new premises. There was an auction to sell some of the more valuable stuff, and one lobby became a take what you like -place for the company staff.

I took this photo when I went to work to this building for the last ever time. Built for the newspaper in 1966 to replace its previous headquarters, the building had been expanded twice. The early 1980’s expansion was the one demolished in 2016, the late 1980’s expansion is still behind this building.

The following day we were already in the new location. I called the company’s property manager and asked for permission to go and photograph the old building before it was handed over to the construction company. He agreed, and on the 100th birthday of Finland I went in.

I was used to entering to the warm smile of the receptionist. Now it was dark and empty.

I had planned to wake up early and photograph in daylight, but we celebrated independence day so heavily that I only got out of bed at 2 pm and it was closer to 3 when I finally got to the site. It was already getting dark, and there was almost no natural light inside the building.

This used to be the marketing department. It was located on the ground floor right behind the reception.

For more than five years I walked up these stairs to work every morning.

This is where the journalists worked. The last evening shift has left their greetings. But so did the ghost of Kaleva.

The ghost of Kaleva was no joke. I heard about him in late 2014 or early 2015. I was ending my evening shift and bringing my water bottle back to my seat, when I saw the managing editor walk to the corridor, where the management had their offices. There was something strange about this so I followed him.

There was nobody in the corridor. The offices were locked and the lights were out.

”I saw someone over there. I thought it was the managing editor, but there’s nobody there”, I said to my boss.

”You saw the ghost of Kaleva.”

”The what?”

She told me that for years there had been reports about somebody slamming the door seen on the left below the balcony in the picture above, walking all the way through the space and slamming the door right behind the camera in the picture. The ghost was only heard. Nobody had ever actually seen it apart from a cleaning lady decades ago, and now me.

Another call to the property manager, and I was allowed to spend the night at the office. I stayed up until about 4.30 am, when I decided to get some sleep. Right then somebody slammed the door. I went to check, but there was nobody there.

I didn’t sleep that night.

But the ghost had a wonderful sense of humour. Every night before the annual meeting of the executive board, it clogged the toilet closest to their meeting room. And when the final newspaper was made in this building, it set off the fire alarm in the same toilet. The firefighters came, the building was emptied, but there was no fire. And this happened three times during that evening.

I spent the last times working in this corner of the building. The annual staff party was the funeral of the building, and the can of long drink in the right corner was actually consumed by me that night.

All the cupboards were full of stuff and old magazines, truckloads of which were thrown away before the move. It’s so strange to see them empty now.

To be continued.

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