I spent the better part of two days figuring out how we could do home delivery of Triad City Beat — a neat piece of logistics that would involve extra copies in the print run, a tech stack to process addresses and payments, a recurring weekly postage expense and a few other picayune details.
Do-able, yes, but a major pain in the ass that would not bring a profit until a few hundred people had signed up for it. During a pandemic, I figured, that should be easy.
Then I sent out a reader survey, the results of which showed unequivocally that almost no one was interested in home delivery. As of right now, I’ve got three people who say they are interested, which means that maybe one of them would do it.
Another thing that astonished me: I had put aside some money for some swag — you know, T-shirts, hats, keychains, bumper stickers and such. The survey revealed that about 80 percent of our readers don’t give a single shit about any of that. They just want the news, as we deliver it.
If you feel differently, let us know at surveymonkey.com/r/KR5VBHT.
The point is: What the hell do I know?
Ten years ago, had you asked me what readers want, I would have had all the answers. Hell, had you asked me two weeks ago I would have been more than happy to answer the question, resplendent each time in my own hard-won ignorance.
I’m not talking about the news. Everybody loves the news, whether they know it or not. And most of us understand that we are experiencing a period in history where timely, accurate information can literally mean the difference between life and death — or, at least, can keep you from contracting ivermectin-induced diarrhea.
I’m talking about the other stuff: What readers expect from us, what they want from us, where we’re succeeding for them and where we’re letting them down. Filter out the noise, and we can see a few glimmers of the truth.
We’ll be pursuing some of the notions expressed in our survey over the coming months. And we’ll continue to look for ways to be responsive to our readers. I’ve stopped puzzling over home delivery — though if you’re interested, drop me a line. And let me know if you want a T-shirt. I think I’m going to get some made anyway.
Join the First Amendment Society, a membership that goes directly to funding TCB‘s newsroom.
We believe that reporting can save the world.
The TCB First Amendment Society recognizes the vital role of a free, unfettered press with a bundling of local experiences designed to build community, and unique engagements with our newsroom that will help you understand, and shape, local journalism’s critical role in uplifting the people in our cities.
All revenue goes directly into the newsroom as reporters’ salaries and freelance commissions.