We are very grateful to the approximately 550 individuals who took the time to respond to our recent Reader Survey.
One of our purposes was to find out whether we are getting FMR out there as effectively as we can, and in ways and formats that suit people.
We will try to address the individual preferences of respondents but we are also reviewing, in the light of the responses, the overall balance of our printed magazine, printed digest, online version, podcasts, email alerts, and our presence on Facebook, Twitter and issuu. That said, the overall message we came away with is that we are doing approximately the right things. This was the response of many individuals and this chimes with the impressionistic view we get from ongoing interactions with authors, donors, Twitter followers and so on. In response to being asked where we might make improvements, a gratifying number of respondents told us to go on doing what we have been doing.
There were some general and some specific suggestions for improving or adding to the FMR website. The website will anyway have to be moved to a new platform in the next year or so and we will be able to take these suggestions into account as we do that.
Our proposal to produce occasional ‘thematic listings’ received general approval, and three are now available at www.fmreview.org/thematic-listings. Other people find the FMR website’s ‘Search’ does the job for them for their individual requirements.
FMR evolves continually and some of the more radical suggestions, such as giving up print entirely, won’t happen in the near future, if ever.
However, the Survey has given us food for thought for the coming stages in FMR’s evolution.
There was a considerable number of suggestions to do things that we already do, such as podcasts (which we have done in English since FMR35 on ‘Disability and displacement’ in 2010), email alerts about new calls for articles (we do this ), use of Twitter (we are active on Twitter and Facebook), and html versions of the articles online (yes, available in all four languages). The lesson for us is that we obviously need to make readers more aware of all the ways and formats they can access FMR.
And many people gave us suggestions for improvements: some changes but also for more things to do, eg webinars, videos etc. Some suggestions would completely change FMR’s publishing model, for example shorter and more frequent editions, longer and more in-depth articles, weekly or monthly electronic publication, etc. FMR’s capacity to do such things is limited – what would we stop doing to enable us to do those new things? – but it is useful to know where readers think FMR can go. We have been challenged to think whether we are ready for radical change, and how much of it we need. Certainly, to do more, we would need more funding; readers’ suggestions of potential funding sources would be warmly welcomed!
We received a few suggestions for themes that we could cover, and these will be a helpful addition to the pool of ideas we have for future issues. More challenging were the requests for more material written by refugees and/or people from the Global South. We would indeed love to have more and it’s not from a lack of effort that we don’t already; perhaps readers could help us by putting us in touch with potential authors, or by co-authoring such articles.
For more detail on the survey results please see www.fmreview.org/accountability/readersurvey2016