“Chicoans can be pretty opinionated—don’t take it too personally and you’ll survive here.”
I came across that comment near the bottom of my stack of readership survey submissions.
It’s a good thing my skin has thickened after five months on the job.
“Evan’s a great editor,” one person said; another: “The new editor, Evan, sucks!” “I read it pretty much cover to cover each week"; “I don’t even like to read this paper anymore.”
I wasn’t seeking an ego boost when I asked for readers’ opinions. Looking over surveys that came in ahead of Wednesday’s deadline, I found positive comments and constructive criticism outnumbered the rebukes. Yet all will help me assess what goes into CN&R.
Here is a cross section of responses to Anything you want to tell us about CN&R?—in all their candid glory:
“Love the localness of CN&R. Refreshing to read a non-corporate paper.”
“I feel I have missed something important if I don’t see it. I like to get a different view of things.”
“Start digging deeper! I love those uncovering-the-truth stories. Let’s dress an intern like a banker and find out why we’re at war.”
“Astrology—more real, less comical. Larger print to read some areas by. Otherwise, I really like this paper.”
“More political cartoons. More in-depth local politics/power.”
“Looking back, I’m surprised at how many features I don’t read or care for. I guess this is true for most mags and newspapers.”
“Your calendar is very important to us. We count on the movie reviews. The coverage of the City Council is important.”
“I appreciate CN&R’s ability to tell it like it is without fear. Unbiased coverage is refreshing; opinions are listened to.”
“Would like more local/City Council news and less of new editor’s columns on what he thinks of his ‘new’ town (except I did enjoy his meeting President Clinton).”
“After catching so much flak about the cover story on dildos, did the CN&R hire an editor who whines about the weather and looks like a dildo with glasses?”
“Keep the human-interest stories, warmth and humor. Positive angles are good—we need good news bad!”
“Y’all could have a great, positive impact on people’s lives if you ever did any truly hard-hitting investigative journalism (they used to call it “muckraking"). I gotta say, however, this survey is probably one of the best things you’ve done in the 12 years I’ve been reading your paper. And I’m still withholding judgment on your new editor until I see more of his M.O.”
A new editor can ask for nothing more.
Personnel note: This week, CN&R welcomes another intern … or, in a way, welcomes back. Chico State junior Bryce Benson will focus on news writing. If his name seems familiar, that could be because he contributed our July 29 cover story, “Homeless no more.”
Personal note: My fiancée finally has moved back up here. With her residency in pediatrics completed, Amy will open her medical practice in mid-September.