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Survey of readers finds interest in Campus Report remains high

STANFORD -- A 1993 survey of readers of Stanford University Campus Report found that 99.2 percent of respondents read the faculty- staff weekly newspaper at least monthly, and that 70.8 percent read it every week it is published.

Nearly 1,000 faculty, staff, hospital and Stanford Linear Accelerator Center employees and graduate students returned the surveys, a return rate that varied among populations but averaged better than one- third. The highest return rates were from faculty and exempt and non- exempt staff.

When asked, "Do you accept Campus Report as a reliable and accurate source of information?" 87.5 percent of those responding answered "yes," 10 percent "no" and 2.5 percent were either "not sure" or wrote "maybe."

Among faculty respondents, 65.3 percent answered"yes" and 12.7 percent "no." The remaining 22 percent gave qualified "yes" or "no" answers or "not sure" and "maybe."

When asked which of 15 categories of information they would like to see more of, less of, or about the same level of, respondents indicated they would like more coverage of live events (40.4 percent want more), features on research (38.7 percent), stories about research (37.1 percent), special supplements (35.2 percent) and stories on issues of higher education (34.9 percent).

The items the most readers wanted less of were gender and ethnic issues (29.7 percent want less), profiles of students (23.2 percent), features about student activities (19.5 percent), profiles of staff members (13.6 percent) and profiles of faculty members (13.3 percent).

In every category, a majority indicated they would like to see "about the same" level of coverage as was the case when the survey was conducted.

A huge majority, 92.5 percent, felt the current size of Campus Report was about right, and 90.9 percent said it contains the right amount of photographs and other graphic elements.

More than one-third, 38.2 percent, of the respondents take almost every issue of Campus Report home with them, and 40.9 percent do so occasionally, indicating that actual readership is higher than the official circulation figure of 17,700.

A plurality of readers (40.7 percent) said the Medical Center Report section of Campus Report contains the right balance of Hospital and Medical Center stories and information. A quarter (26 percent) said they don't read that section.

When asked what they thought was missing from Campus Report, readers offered suggestions including long profiles of interesting campus figures; complete Board of Trustee reports; "probing stories on controversial issues by independent, investigative reporters"; debate and "point-counterpoint" pieces; and more comprehensive coverage of administrative activities.

Hundreds of readers added their own comments on the survey; a selection of those comments follows.

The survey was conducted in late spring of 1993 by the then- editor of Campus Report, Stanford News Service writer Peter Rapalus, with assistance by Grace Evans, assistant to the editor, and other News Service staff. Results were compiled over the summer of 1993 and presented to News Service staff and management at a September 1993 retreat.

Other than staff time, the survey incurred only printing and interdepartmental mailing costs.

The surveys were sent to a random sampling of the university population. Approximately 15 percent of the faculty and staff were included.



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