Posted by: sweeneyblog | January 5, 2013

Results from the 2012 Reader’s Survey

2012 was a success!

2012 was a success!

Thank you, loyal readers, for stepping up to the plate and giving me some solid feedback. 2012 was the biggest year for The Political Junkie yet. We managed to interview the entire Democratic slate for the 1st Congressional District, I published one of the most used guides to the complex ballot initiatives this year (“What the heck is Joint Resolution No. 8223?”, and various other media organizations started to take notice of the work I am doing up here. I got linked by Publicola and the Bellingham Herald, I was quoted by the Seattle Times and my work was published in the Cascadia Weekly. My awkward rambling voice was heard several times on The Joe Show at KBAI AM 930, and PM Bellingham on KGMI AM790.

In terms of raw numbers, I published 124 articles last year and this blog receives about an average of 207 views per day. In 2011, I published about the same number of posts and only received an average of 93 views per day, so our audience continues to grow each year. Thank you everyone who read, discussed and shared this blog. As long as you guys find it interesting and useful, I will continue to work on it.

On to the reader’s survey! First question was what sort of content would you like to see more of in the future.

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Right away, it is pretty clear that people like what they are getting here. Whatcom County reporting, investigative articles and Bellingham news. I was surprised by how many people enjoyed my interviews with political figures. I will line up some fresh movers and shakers in the next couple of months. Also, the “Keep it Simple, Sweeney” is a big hit, so I will try to make that a bi-monthly feature. Under “other” people mentioned the 42nd legislative representatives, coal trains and climate change. I haven’t covered the Gateway Pacific Terminal in much depth simply because there are a ton of other media outlets covering that issue, but when it intersects County Council politics, don’t worry, I’ll be there.

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Obviously, corruption and transparency are the biggest concern for my readers. I think this definitely speaks to the role of citizen journalism in ferreting these things out. Beyond that, there is a pretty clear mandate, “Cover Politics, you dummy!” The readers are pretty clear, they want to hear about candidates, elections, internal political maneuvering and maybe the environment if I have the time.

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I’m delighted to see so many people taking advantage of our subscribe button. It is at the top right of this page under the search bar. Beyond that, I aim for three posts a week so readers checking in either once a week or every day is just about right. If you are curious, our facebook page is here.

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This part of the survey surprised me a bit. With all the coverage of the 1st congressional district, I was hoping to draw in some readers from outside the district but who have a vested interest in Whatcom County politics. I was thinking the slew of political consultants that design legislative and congressional candidate’s mailers or Seattle-based reporters looking for some background on their story about the north part of the state. Alas, none of these people filled out my reader’s survey. We did get one reader filling out the survey from Romania, which is pretty impressive.

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This was the other surprise I found tucked away in the survey. I know that conservatives read my blog, yet not a single one felt confident identifying themselves as such on my survey. Sure, we got a libertarian and an independent that leans conservative, but no one was willing to step up and say, “Yup, that’s me.” I offered up the choice of “Devout Follower of Pete Kremen’s Mustache” as an “other” if people felt uncomfortable identifying so maybe a few of our conservative readers are tucked into that category. That said, this is a blog written by a Democrat and apparently read by other left-leaning folks, so I will continue to write with that in mind.

There was all sorts of other feedback I received as part of this survey. I got a few people urging me to interview more conservatives. I always reach out and try to get an interview, but almost always, I get ignored. For instance, I tried several times to interview John Koster, but was unable to get a date and time from his people. I received some recommendations of other issues to investigate, I will be following up on some of those suggestions. Finally, a few people mentioned the issue of bias.

Everyone is biased. They start out with notions of right and wrong, of people they identify with and people who make them nervous. Naturally, these influences (culture, education, upbringing, social circles) affect my writing too. My goal has always been to be upfront about my biases and my associations so that you know what is possibly coloring my views. I always try to do my best to bring all the relevant facts to the table, even when it rubs me the wrong way. Despite being naturally predisposed to believing them, I debunked coal claims from Dan Pike last year, and debunked accusations that The Woods was anti-gay.

I continue to work toward a better informed electorate, and appreciate any and all feedback. If I put something up here and you say, “That’s not right,” let me know! You can always email me here or comment on the story itself and I will look into it further. While my writing might sometimes be humorous, I always take concerns over accuracy very seriously. Thank you to everyone who participated in my reader’s survey and I hope this year is even more thrilling than the last.

P.S. If you like the work that we do here at The Political Junkie, you can always throw us a few bucks to keep costs down.  Thank you.


Responses

  1. I think maybe you might have asked how many of those who marked “progressive” are not Democrats, but Greens.

  2. A lack of bias is only pertinent when addressing raw facts.
    The proper and accurate interpretation of those pesky things is what we expect from our own biased points of view often reflected in the Junkie’s focus, analysis and investigations.
    Besides, a person without a strong need to express an honest opinion probably shouldn’t be writing anything except Rick Larsen press releases or MacLatchkey editorials.

  3. Next year have an entry for classic conservative (once called classic li beral) or something like that and I’ll answer the question. I don’t consider most republicans to be conservative and most libertarians are not particularly conservative either (I always thought it strange that most of the libertarians I knew worked for government, especially in the education sector). The reason labels don’t mean much is that, for example, a JFK democrat would consider the party today to be a little left of socialism while a Ronald Reagan republican is simply an unreformed FDR democrat. Ah, well… getting old isn’t for political sissies.

  4. There clearly needs to be a boost to your Conservative readership, Riley. :)

    • Absolutely! I promise to be nice (ish)!


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