March 13, 2010

Reader survey results

Thanks to everybody who filled out our recent online survey. Here's what we learned about RacinePost readers (or at least the ones who will out online surveys):


Over four days, 328 people answered the survey.


Nearly all of the respondents (94.8 percent) were 30 years old or older, with just under half (49.1 percent) between 41 and 60 years old. Just one person under 20 years old responded to the survey, while seven people between 81 and 90 years old responded.


We have some dedicated readers. Just over a third of the respondents said they visit RacinePost several times per day, while another third said they visit once per day and nearly everyone else said they visit a few times per week. Our hope is to create a dynamic website with a regular supply of fresh content, so we're very happy with this response.

What people like to read

Here's the Top 5 topics respondents said they like to read about:

1. Local government
2. Local business
3. Investigative news
4. Good news
5. Local people

And the bottom five topics:

5. Health care
4. Federal government
3. Theater
2. Music
1. Bars

Findings here are largely reflective of the areas we've focused on the past 2-1/2 years. We'd really like to do more with the local arts and entertainment scene, but we've made a name for ourselves focusing on local government and business.

What people would like to see 

We asked people would they would like to read more of on RacinePost. Here's the top 5:

1. Investigative news
2. Local business
3. Local residents
4. Good news
5. Events

And the bottom five:

5. Nonprofits
4. Music
3. Theater
2. Federal government
1. Bars

No surprise on the investigative news - that should be any news organization's top priority. In the last few months we're hearing a lot of people talk about a local need for more stories about local businesses, so that's something we're really going to take a look at.


We received 190 written comments from respondents. A large majority of the comments were positive, and for those, truly, thank you. Negative comments can be clumped into three areas:

1. Several respondents said they are turned off by the negative comments/blogs at the end of our stories. Many people would also like us to eliminate anonymous comments.

2. Editorial bias. Always a touchy issue with any news source, but some respondents said they would like us to more clearly delineate between news and opinion, with more of a focus toward unbiased local news stories.

3. People would like to see a less "cluttered" design with fewer old stories on the front page.

Happily, I can report we are working on all three of the areas with a new site design that will bring greater accountability to the comments, clearly organize stories and opinions into separate categories and reduce the clutter on our home page. (I know we've talked about this new site for awhile, but we're close to ironing out the last few bugs, mostly related to how long it takes the page to load. Hopefully (fingers crossed) this will be worked out soon, because the new site has some great new features we're excited to offer.)


For our first survey, we're very happy with the response and thank everyone for taking the time to answer our questions. We're planning on a few more to try and get a clearer picture of who we're writing for and what you'd like to see on the Post. Reader feedback is incredibly important to us, and these surveys seem like a quick, unintrusive way to reach people. Again, thanks so much!


  1. Thank you for sharing

  2. "Happily" is a great word. Thank you for using it.

  3. This all sounds well and good, but you also have to watch what they do. In the "Tingle story" an anonymous responder suggests that Pete close the comments. So, he does. But, if you’re going to close comments from the rest of us, thereby restricting our opinions, then you should also delete all of the existing responses. All or none, boys, that’s only fair.

  4. Graham: What would be "fair" is if commenters would exhibit common decency, and not anonymously deride each other and other people I suspect they don't even know.

    It would be nice if words like slut, whore, sex-crazed, kill, Glock, wax-trash and more never showed up on these blogs.

    When your fellow commenters achieve that minimal level of civil discourse, then talk to us about "fair."

  5. What Pete said.

  6. Thanks for doing the survey. I hoped for more response but this matches what I hear on the street.

    I understand the concern over anonymous blogging but that is where some valuable information comes out. A number of elected officials in this county go to great lengths to track down bloggers who feed important hidden information to the public. If the anon goes away there will be a lot of people who can no longer feed information. I have noticed a lot more hidden government information has come to light since blogging became popular. Anon blogging leads to some unfounded, false and nasty comments but it sure lets in a lot of light too.

    Thanks for posting the results but think long and hard before eliminating Anon posting because you get far more comments than the JT on the same topics.

  7. Pete:

    Based on your past comments and actions, I don't believe you are an individual capable of defining "fair".

    It has been suggested on numerous occasions that you create and adhere to standards for Racine Post. That would be fair. Instead, you choose to whimsically apply your own subjective definition of fair to your power over reader's comments.

  8. 1) Several readers have defended your lack of a clearly delineated standard of reporting and censorship to the idea that this is simply "Dustin's site" or "Pete's site". However, in this article, you refer to Racine Post as a news organization. If that is the case, then why aren't your "rules" defined in any way.

    2) Could you please post your mission statement? In this article, you indicate that your goal is to create a regular supply of fresh content. Unfortunately, fresh content is not always good content. I seem to recall that, when this site originated, it was declared that this would be a site dedicated to reporting on good things around Racine. Is that inaccurate? Is my memory wrong? Perhaps posting your mission statement could help clarify.

  9. Pete, side-stepping my comment is not an answer.

  10. Please Pete and Dustin do not let some of the criticisms in the blogs make you stop your goals of letting people know the news. I continue to write and say, without you guys doing what you do, no news would get out except the dribble that the JournalTimes spurts. I agree with you, some of the bloggers use nasty and profane language that really has no place in a real debate. The name calling and the usage of swear words takes away from what the blogger is trying to say for a lack of the understanding of English and grammar or maybe the blogger is just purely frustrated and this is the manner which they express themselves. But do not let a great effort like the Racinepost become obsolete due to the nasty writings of some bloggers. Keep up the good work and if you were to close this website, it will be a VERY SAD Day for news in this area.

  11. Most of us who read the Post are smart enough to determine what is opinion versus news. Every media outlet has a bias. Newsflash for some maybe but it is a fact. There are a number of books out about how the old line media blindly lined up behind Obama and many of them are now coming out of the fog and admitting it.

    I read something in US News this past week where the publisher, an admitted Obama supporter, has admitted he got taken in. It affected the magazine's stories for a number of years.

    In the same manner it is clear the JT is still drinking the Dickert Kool aide. It has been in the media since the first rag was printed hundreds of years ago. History shows many times how the media changed or impacted elections and events. Our jobs as voters and citizens is to spend a few extra minutes and think about what we read. If you think about what you read and see on TV you can tell news from opinion.

    Bias is in everyone's behavior. I can't imagine that I'm the only one who can tell when something is biased versus investigative.

  12. I always learn something new about Racine when reading the Racine Post. Other sources are filled with happenings in Chicago or Milwaukee.

    I appreciate your efforts and hope it continues to be worth your while to do this.

  13. I took the survey, I also donated some cash to this site. I don't agree with some of the things here, BUT I certainly prefer it over the Journal Times.

  14. So, basically, with the exception of about three, seem to say:

    We know Racine Post is biased and does not have a standard that they will define and stick to, but-hey - they're better than JT, so we're going to keep reading and liking them.

    That's called settling, people.

    Get that Racine Post? People are settling for you. You could be better, but you're better than JT so you'll do for now. Is that really how you want to be perceived?

  15. Anon 2:44

    I think you miss the message. All media is biased. I would rather have the overt Post bias, which I can ignore, agree with or not agree with versus the hidden agendas of most of the old line media. Do you really think that NBC, ABC, CBS, JT, CNN and Fox aren't just as biased even with their "standards" in place. It would be nice if every media outlet in history didn't have a bias, but they all do and did in the past. That's why many large cities at one time or another had at least two newspapers. One was overtly left and the other overtly right. In Racine there are a number of different blog sites too. Some are right and some are left.

    Please don't look so shocked. Ever since Gutenberg came out with the printing press there has been bias in the media. He probably had letters that leaned to the left and right too.

  16. Just curious, but what's wrong with the word "Glock"?

    Is this a new profanity, am I missing something here?

  17. Anon 5:49: A Glock is a gun, and someone -- in multiple posts -- keeps suggesting using it on people he dislikes.

  18. Pete:

    So, to verify, it's the suggestion of violence you dislike, and not the namebrand of weapon?

  19. By allowing your readers to post negative comments, you are performing a public service of the first magnitude: granting the marginalized majority a place in which to voice its legitimate concerns while non-violently venting ire which could otherwise manifest as mayhem. As for anonymity, please retain it as an option. Until we build an adequate social safety net in our sad land, most wage slaves and salary serfs will hesitate to put their names on comments critical of The Powers That Be for fear of job loss and other forms of retribution.

  20. Given the right-wing Rich-pig-lican bias at the JT, nobody should throw stones at the Racine Post if a little leftist or progressive slant should appear from time to time in your articles.

  21. As for people who dislike attacks on the Waxtrash Corporate Crime Family, too bad. As anyone with a sane brain will tell you, the Johnsons, Leipolds and Boyds have systematically destroyed Racine as a decent community for toilers and other non-holders of serious assets. What the abovementioned cash clans seek is a community of genteel cultured sheep-le whom they may herd and fleece at whim or will in the same manner that Frank Lloyd Wright exploited his docile slaveys at Taliesen East and West.

  22. Wright and his third wife brought the WRONG stuff to Racine during the Dirty Thirties and Filthy Forties. Regretably, the Johnsons acquired the Wrights' amorality, artiness and arrogance. Quoth my Irish American Father (who knew and liked the late Sam as well as his widow):"The malady lingers on."

  23. No one likes the hate or other negative blogging occurring, but it is better than someone else trying to decide for you what is right or wrong.

    Do what I do. I don't like it, but I do consider it when formulating an opinion on someones remarks. Let them speak their mind, if they cannot do it in a positive manner, I just ignore them. The point is, don't silence anyone. Let what they say stand on its own and use it to judge for your self. Don't worry about what others think, if they are as smart as you, they will discount the hate talk just as much.

  24. I run a group and we have discussions and debates on line in email form. It is on a very emotionally heated topic. We have ground rules. No personal attacks, name calling, among several others. If you follow the rules you are not moderated. If you don't then your comments take a while to show up.

    I will only comment anonymously here. I am not going to stick my neck out to these people who can all too easy seek revenge. I am not willing to risk retaliation because of my opinion. I won't have a reason to read your blog, part of the appeal is being able to comment. Otherwise I can go to other online blogs sites.

    I agree that some posts are just unnecessarily negative. It is a thin line between what is over the top and what is okay.

    Just think, Who in their right mind would comment negatively against the police, city or teachers knowing they will organize some sort of retaliation against you and your family?

  25. It's really true. There is no whistleblower act to protect the common man from the rebuttal of individuals with closed-door power. It's just a shame that it turns out that Racine Post is one of the minions of those powerful individuals, deleting possible truths rather than investigating them based on their personal relationships with people or debunking them by printing contradictory facts. How very Barbara Walters of you.

  26. Pete:

    I was reading your initial response to Graham, and I was astounded. Sarcasm is just a fancy way of being rude. You, sir, may be able to word your anger and disdain in more socially acceptable terms, but it is really no better than anyone who you've targeted as needing to learn what you refer to as civil discourse. Oh, and you have a very sad tone of arrogance, as well - as if you are talking "down" to Graham. Why? People who use that tone tend to think that they are better than the person they are speaking to. Do you think that? Do you think that you are a better person than Graham?

  27. Poor Greg Helding doesn't like anonymous people posting - TOUGH!

    Since when can't people have negative things to say? Isn't that what leads to discussion? I think that is a mistake if you remove something because someone deems it negative.

  28. Thank you Pete, but are you sure they don't mean "glockenspiel?"

    I LOVE the Racine Post, in spite of some of the creepy bloggers, and I applaud your constant efforts to improve - we should all be so conscientious.

    I submit that your biases are the result of intelligent insight.

    So, creepy bloggers, put that in your pipe and smoke it!

  29. It's too bad that the readers think so little of the not for profits - I guess that represents how little compssion these readers have. I hope that is not indicative of the whole city.

  30. Alas, a mean rat race means a race of mean rats. Thanks to the callousness and cruelty of Racine's corporate class vis a vis less-fortunate residents, the latter have acquired their oppressors' nasty quirks in order to survive in an increasingly-hostile environment.

  31. Racine is nothing but a pathological and pathogenic poverty pit misruled by a corrupt-to-the-core corporate oligarchy. Hence, expecting anything positive from the place and its inhabitants is sheer folly.

  32. Pete: you should add teabagger to your list of words.

  33. Racine Post.

    Admit your biases up front.

    Pretending to be objective is a joke.

  34. You post a story and the response you get is the response you get. That is a reflection of your audience. If you don't like it, then you don't like your audience.

    The most accurate description I've read of Racine still comes from that last NY Times piece: violent and segregated. The comments here and elsewhere reflect that. That is who we are. Denying it and covering it up just guarantees that it will erupt again in the future. And that is what Racine does best: denial.

    Party on!

  35. The Racine Kiosk is the place for touchy feely positive happenings. They don't have any controversy. Do we need two Racine Kiosks?

    I didn't take the survey and I like theater.