Obscure Box

Thoughts from inside the obscure box


October 1, 2008

What they didn't ask me on The Guardian / The Observer survey

Posted by : Michael Lund
Filed under : Media, Online, Print

Always suspicious when some survey drops into my inbox but this one claimed to be from The Guardian and The Observer, the UK newspapers and online web sites.

Titled Guardian and Observer Reader Research the e-mail from Alan Rusbridger, editor, the Guardian, pointed me to an online survey at http://survey.confirmit.com/wix/p661996682.aspx?r=...

A quick web search didn't reveal any concerns about the e-mail so I followed the link and started the survey.

Most of the questions were directed at those who live in the UK but I clicked on as it encouraged responses from overseas too.

Then came the killer question:

Which of the following subjects would you say you were 'very interested' in reading about?

Why killer? Well what surprised me was the list of suggested topics. The options were:

Arts, Books/Literature, Business, Cars/Motoring, Classical music, Education, Fashion, Film & Video, Food, Gardening, Geography, Health & Fitness Jobs/appointments, Media, Personal Finance, Photography, Public sector, Rock/pop/dance music, Science & Technology, Sport, Theatre, Travel, None of the above

No mention of key topics such as Environment, Climate Change, Current Affairs, Politics (domestic and international), Defence, or any kind of day to day news issues.

No mention of Breaking News (important for online) or Weather.

Religion (not that I'm religious but I recognise its importance).

What worries me is that the results from this survey may be used to tweak the coverage of certain issues in The Guardian and The Observer, which would trickle through to the online versions of the newspapers I tend to read.

I can just hear the discussion now. "Well our survey says people are more interested in Photography so we should boost our coverage there."

Remember to bring your camera if climate change brings about the end of the world.


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All thoughts and comments here are the honestly held personal opinion of Michael Lund and are based on the information available at the time of publication.

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