Reader Survey - what you had to say

Our 1997 Reader Survey was included as an insert in the October edition. Respondents were asked how often they read FOCUS, how they rated the publication, what they liked about it and what they would like to see changed. We have analysed the results for the Gold and Green editions separately. This analysis covers respondents who receive the Gold edition, from South Australia, Western Australia, Queensland and Northern Territory. Results from readers of the Green edition were published in their December edition earlier this month.

In our special, full colour combined January edition, we will present any different trends evident from the analysis of the two editions. Of the 115 'Gold' respondents, 65 (57%) were elected representatives and 46 (40%) Council officers. We had three responses from representatives of peak Local Government bodies and one 'Other'.

We received 49 (43%) responses from Western Australia, 33 (29%) from Queensland, 30 (26%) from South Australia and 2 (2%) from the Northern Territory.

With Western Australia having 34%, Queensland 31%, South Australia 17% and Northern Territory 17% of the 412 Councils that receive the Gold edition, both WA and SA were over represented while Northern Territory was under represented.

With 43% indicating their Council was in a rural area, 29% metropolitan and 27% a provincial city or regional centre, views from a representative range of Council types were received. A total of 70% of respondents said they regularly read FOCUS, with 29% reading it sometimes.

For the four areas we asked about, respondents rating the publication as 'Good' or 'Excellent' ranged between 77 and 84%. On the question concerning what respondents most liked about the publication, the most common response was that it is reader friendly (18), topical and informative (17) covering a variety of issues (13) and up to date news (12 responses).

Other things people liked included that it provides new ideas or information exchange (15), its presentation or layout (13) and that it is a national publication (9).

For the question on what respondents would like to see changed, it is very pleasing to report the most common answer to this question was 'Nothing, I like it as it is'. However, a number of respondents requested more coverage of small or rural Councils and information on how to submit items (see the box below for details).

Other suggestions included more coverage of Local Government trends overseas, an access or comments/ideas column, a more detailed table of contents and a regular LGA Presidents' Column. We are currently working on building these suggestions into our 1998 editions.

Specific comments received include the following.

  • Lives up to its name, focusing on interesting issues (Councillor)
  • Easy to read, relevant and wide ranging topics. Well done an excellent publication (Council Officer)
  • Big enough for detail, small enough to read quickly (Council Officer)
  • Unlike a lot of other publications, the value of the content exceeds the cost of the printing (Councillor)
  • Good, balanced reporting on many difficult Local Government issues (Council Officer)

We are very grateful to all those people who took the time to complete our Reader Survey. Items can be submitted at any time. They can relate to any newsworthy matter or the feature for that particular edition (a list of future features and deadlines for copy is always presented on the bottom right hand side of page 1).

Items received prior to the fourth Friday of the month have the best chance of appearing in the next edition. Material can be posted, faxed or emailed (see page 2 credits box for details). Photographs are also welcome. If your Council does not have the staff resources to prepare media releases, it is simply a matter of telephoning FOCUS and we will assist by conducting a telephone interview with relevant personnel to develop the story.