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Readership Survey: The Results Are In

We would like to thank everyone who took part in the 2006 NewsSmith readership survey this past winter. Your responses will continue to help us make a newsletter rich with news and appealing stories about academic life and the on-campus community of Smith College. We’re working to make it a newsletter that you’ll want to read and pass along to others.

By March 31, 2006, some 2,580 readers had taken the survey, or 12 percent of those who received the e-mail invitation. This is considered to be a strong response rate.

Key Findings

For the most part, NewsSmith is well read and well liked and readers consider its design to be engaging.

92 percent of respondents reported that the newsletter provided useful news and helped them feel more or somewhat connected with Smith.

In general, the most popular article topics were new additions to the curriculum, college history and traditions, first-person commentaries by members of the Smith community and student news and achievements.

The most widely read articles in the winter 2006 issue were (in order of popularity) “Smith Is Number One in Fulbright Awards,” the cover story on “Why Research Matters at a Liberal Arts College,” the essay by Jessica Nicolls ’84 about Smith’s Museum of Art and the story about the four alumnae medalists honored at Rally Day 2006.

Readers prefer reading NewsSmith in print rather than on the Web. Forty-five percent say they do not read NewsSmith online at all; 35 percent read the online version “sometimes.”

More than 91 percent of readers feel the length of the NewsSmith articles is “appropriate to the subject matter.”

Survey respondents were members of classes ranging in decades from the 1930s into 2000 and beyond, with slightly more responses from graduates of classes in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

Of the 2,580 respondents, 24 percent, or 620, offered written comments such as the following:

“I like NewsSmith very much because of its emphasis on academics (and, lately, on using the cumulative science expertise on campus to save energy). It is SO interesting and intellectually engaging! Thanks, and keep up the good work!”

“I hope you will continue to publish NewsSmith. For someone who interviews prospective students it is handy to have as much current information as possible.”

“So much to read, too little time!”

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