Informal survey yields positive results, Miscellany joins Twitter, Facebook

CHARLESTON—In these days of social networking, studies have shown that Internet consumers want more participation in the information they are presented.

As The Catholic Miscellany seeks to meet those needs, readers may notice some changes in their diocesan newspaper. The online presence has increas­ed and a new Web site will be constructed over the summer to provide more features for people who read their news online.

The Miscellany is now a regular on Twitter and Facebook. Followers will find updates on both of those popular applications.

The goal is to make the good news more interactive. The newspaper will still find its way to subscribers mailboxes 44 times a year but now they will have more options.

In March, The Catholic Miscellany initiated a random, online survey of its contents. It was advertised online and in the newspaper, and a copy of the survey was included in the paper.

It is of interest to note that approximately 75 percent of the responses to the survey were those taken from the paper version and mailed to the Office of Planning for the Diocese of Charles­ton, which documented the information and compiled the results.

What follows is a summary of the responses:

  • Of the people who took the survey, 92 percent read every issue of The Catholic Miscellany. The largest majority of those, 48 percent, spent 15-30 minutes reading each issue; and 90 percent believed the newspaper helped keep them informed of important events in the diocese.
  • The most frequently read page is the front with 92 percent of respondents frequently or always reading it;  80 percent regularly read people and events; 87 percent read local news; and 68 percent of respondents reported they never read the crossword.
  • Letters to the editor are always or frequently read by 74 percent of the survey respondents and it was the most popular commentary item.
  • Another favored column, Father John Catoir, is always or frequently read by 56 percent of respondents, while 32 percent of those people never glance at the daily readings.
  • The largest percentage of survey takers stated that they always read about social issues, prayer and spiritual growth, and theology/church history. Topics about youth and young adults were the least read, while Catholic beliefs was the subject that respondents would like to read about more often. This was followed by diocesan news and activities, Vatican news, and prayer and spiritual growth.
  • The balance of news and columnists was considered about right by 63 percent of survey respondents and 72 percent considered the balance of diocesan and national/international news to be about right.
  • The Miscellany was rated by 83 percent of those who answered the survey as good or excellent in overall content, 84 percent rated the design as good or excellent and 76 percent rated the photography as good or excellent.
  • The survey responders reported receiving Catholic news and information from other sources, but 70 percent receive a majority of news from The Catholic Miscellany.
  • While 84 percent of respondents reported they have easy access to the internet, 92 percent of those people do not read The Catholic Miscellany articles from its Web site; and 65 percent would still prefer to receive a paper version of The Miscellany.
  • Finally, 52 percent of the survey respondents would prefer a weekly paper, 31 percent would be content with twice a month; and 60 percent would be content with a twice a month newspaper and regular Web site updates.