Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Subscriber feedback jamboree, part one

As all of our loyal subscribers are aware, our renewal notices include two sections that solicit reader feedback: “I like the paper because …” and “If I could change the paper I would …” I am here to tell you, these responses are not taken lightly. I read each and every one before I shred the notice and forget everything you wrote.

Of course I am kidding—I don’t shred the notices unless you write/draw something nasty (I'm looking at you, DELORES). In fact, I think this week would be a good time to take a deeper look at what you, the reader, like and dislike about our newspapers.

I should start by saying that most subscribers write nothing in these sections. This leads me to believe that approximately 90 percent of you do not like our paper and don’t want anything to change. That is fine by me. As long as we don’t have to change anything. Thanks for your feedback!

The most common response is one of appreciation, that you like our paper because it is local. We pride ourselves on our localness and we tried to reflect that in the names of our publications. You’d be surprised how many phone calls I get like this:

Person: Hi, yes, is this The Glendale Star and Peoria Times newspapers?

Me: Yes.

Person: Okay, great. Let me ask you something—what areas do your papers cover?

Me: Great question. The Glendale Star covers Gilbert and the Peoria Times covers France.

Anyway, we appreciate that you appreciate our local news. It’s difficult to refrain from writing about national topics like stupid North Korea and Lindsay Lohan, but we do it for you.

So it’s obvious we are great. But, what would you change? Let’s go to Mike in Peoria. If he could change the Peoria Times, he would “delete the police blotter about arrests.” Okay, that is interesting. I don’t know if we can do that, but maybe people will stop doing dumb and terrible things and this problem will take care of itself—fingers crossed!

What about you, Harry in Glendale? If you could change The Glendale Star you would, add “more police reports and more recipes.” Sorry, Mike, but Harry likes the police pages. I’ll see what I can do about the recipes because I agree—after reading about local arrests, I usually get the urge to make potato soup. Anything else, Harry? “Harry is dead, please change the name to Marge, this is Marge.” Done and done. But should we call the police?

The police blotter is not the only source of reader disagreement. Jennie of Glendale likes The Star because of its “coverage of local sports.” Cool, thanks, Jennie! Let’s now go to Wayne of Glendale: “More gardening and less sports.” Not for nothing, Wayne, but I think this country as a whole already places too much emphasis on gardening. We’ve lost perspective. It’s like, the nation’s top gardeners are making millions of dollars while teachers are working two, sometimes three jobs? Sorry, but I’m not going to play into that. Thank you for your comments, however.

Let us not forget the other sections of the paper. Barbara of Peoria, if she could change the Times, would “have more classifieds” (this is underlined many times and I think Barbara is upset). Believe me, Barb, we are trying. Unfortunately that rests on the community, and I cannot just make up classified ads in order to satisfy your insatiable appetite for classifieds. Possibly you would like to place a classified ad calling for more classifieds? Please call me.

Stay tuned for part two next week, and in the meantime, keep sending that feedback! I need it to write part two.

NOTE: Some names were changed to protect the identities of our readers. I'm looking at you, DELORES.

Note: This column appears in the 5/23 issue of The Glendale Star and the 5/24 issue of the Peoria Times.

No comments: