Early responses to the Anglican News & Readership Survey, which was rolled out at General Synod 2010 to better determine the news and information needs of Anglicans across Canada, is revealing some interesting trends.
So far, about 60 synod delegates have filled out the survey, most of them online. This is giving important feedback on the content and presentation of the Anglican Journal, the independent newspaper of the Anglican Church of Canada, as well as the 22 regional or diocesan newspapers. This information will be used in strategic planning for the national newspaper and the diocesan newspapers that it carries.
Early indicators show that readers of the Anglican Journal want more world news, news from other dioceses as well as more opinion articles and reflections, says Michelle Hauser, a consultant with the department of Philanthropy who assisted in developing the survey. Respondents said that they would like to see more local news and letters to the editor in their diocesan newspapers.
Interestingly, podcasts appear to be a very popular way for people to get their news and other information. And, radio rather than television or newspapers, appears to be the primary source for news. “It is going to be utterly fascinating to digest the open-ended comments in this survey as this is a well-educated and extremely literate group of people,” said Hauser.
The comments already reflect a breadth of opinion, with feedback on the Journal ranging from it being a "peddler of dangerous heresy" to a "critical link to the worldwide communion." Either way, noted Hauser, “it is clear that people are paying attention and that buttons are being pushed.”
After General Synod, the survey will be promoted nationwide, gathering information from an ever larger cross-section of Anglicans. Readers of the Anglican Journal will be offered both print and online options to make sure as many readers as possible participate, said Hauser.
“We will be able to evaluate trends nationwide,” said Hauser, “but more importantly, we will be able to break things down regionally and report to the individual diocesan papers on trends in their dioceses.”
It is hoped that information from the survey will help the Journal as well as the diocesan newspapers it carries to prioritize services to readers in the coming years, particularly as serving the worlds of print and online news become increasingly complex and demanding.
Copies of the survey can be picked up at the Anglican Journal display booth on the upper level outside Plenary Hall. Alternatively, you can complete the survey online by visiting anglicanjournal.com and clicking on “Readership Survey” in the top navigation bar.
Completed paper surveys can be returned to Bev Murphy, Anglican Journal circulation manager, and placed in the “Suggestion Box” on the display table.