Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 11, 2002
WCR survey draws a strong response
Vast majority say they're satisfied with newspaper
By GLEN ARGAN
Nearly 90 per cent of respondents to a recent Western Catholic Reporter readership survey say they are satisfied with the current content of the weekly newspaper.
The survey, published in the Nov. 12 issue of the WCR, drew 602 responses from readers, more than four times as many as responded to the last WCR readership survey five years ago.
Of those respondents, 87.5 per cent said they were satisfied with the content of the paper. The greatest satisfaction was among those over 65 years of age, 92 per cent of whom said they were satisfied with the WCR. The lowest satisfaction rate was among those under 45 - 78 per cent of them were satisfied.
The survey results were analyzed by Val and Grace Schlosser of Edmonton Catholic Schools.
The most popular features in the newspaper were Father Ron Rolheiser's In Exile column and the weekly editorial. Ninety-seven per cent of the respondents said they read Rolheiser's column and 92 per cent of them are satisfied with it. As for the editorial, 96 per cent read it and 91 per cent are satisfied with it.
The least-read feature was the weekly crossword puzzle - it was read by 41 per cent of the respondents. But of those who read it, 91 per cent expressed satisfaction.
The most controversial column in the paper was Hank Zyp's Just Desserts. Ninety per cent of respondents said they read it; 77 per cent expressed satisfaction.
Zyp's column drew fiery comments from some readers. "Mr. Zyp is out to lunch and I will review my need to subscribe to this publication," wrote one man.
But for every negative comment about the longtime social activist and retired teacher's column, there were others defending it. "Hank Zyp is our favourite. He tells the truth like it is," wrote one woman.
The respondents were particularly pleased with the WCR's reporting on the local Church. More than 95 per cent of them said they were satisfied with how the WCR helps them learn what is happening in the archdiocese.
As well, 87 per cent of readers were satisfied with how the WCR helps them expand their knowledge of the faith.
While the paper drew a high rate of satisfaction, a minority of respondents criticized it for being either too liberal or too conservative.
"In my estimation you devote too much space to pious drivel and nonsensical rants by the loony fringe. I am in favour of balance, but you may be skewed in favour of fundamentalism," one man wrote.
But one woman said, "Your credibility is lost when commentaries against the Catholic faith are printed. Please return to orthodoxy."
Most of those who wrote comments at the end of the survey, however, said they find the WCR to be a valuable resource.
"I often use your paper to introduce pertinent topics into the conversations with our children and grandchildren," wrote one woman.
Another woman said, "I used to make myself read part of this paper, but now find myself actually enjoying reading it."
One young woman said, "The WCR has been an awesome tool for expanding my knowledge and understanding of the faith."
And one man wrote, "Ten years ago, I felt that the WCR was a heavy financial burden to our parishes, but the benefits have outweighed the cost a hundredfold. The WCR is a great investment. Thanks be to God."
The results of the survey will be taken seriously in the WCR's efforts to provide a better newspaper for its 38,000 readers.