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The Reader Report
This summer we conducted a survey of Santa Clara Magazine readers, and we thought you might enjoy a snapshot of the results. The survey was sent to a random sample of readers to provide statistically valid data, and it was part of a national survey conducted by QUALTRICS, a professional surveying firm, in conjunction with the Council of Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).
So what do SCM readers report? Across the board, 80 percent or more of readers rate the magazine as good or excellent in terms of content, writing, design, and photography—which puts us ahead of national averages. Highest marks go to our covers. In terms of topics, readers are most interested in: SCU history and traditions, alumni, class notes, campus growth, higher education, business and industry, science and technology, and the environment.
Sixty percent spend 30 minutes or more with each issue, with strong preference for reading SCM in print versus online. Readers value the connection the magazine provides, the information on the University and alumni, and the breadth of topics overall. Sixty-five percent see SCM as a generally objective source of information on SCU.
We also received hundreds of individual comments. Here are some representative responses: what readers like, dislike, and what they would change. We welcome your comments, too. For more on the survey, or to give us a piece of your mind, visit santaclaramagazine.com.—Steven Boyd Saum
What do you like most?
»I like its engagement of important and even controversial issues, and the clear evidence of the University’s (meaning its people’s) concerned involvement in the real world. It is an institution helping make the world a better place—joining theory and practice.
»Information about my classmates. It is heartwarming to learn that the next generation of students (and faculty) are focused on issues important to the ideals of a Jesuit institution.
»It shows how far the University has progressed since I graduated almost 60 years ago, and the extremely high quality of the student body and faculty over the years.
»Santa Clara Magazine is tops on my list: up there with the Economist, Health Magazine, O the Oprah magazine! It is snappy, provocative, colorful, interesting with just the right balance of local and global issues. Keep up the good work!
»The articles are always so interesting and leave me with a much greater appreciation of what goes on at SCU and makes me feel much more connected. I truly look forward to receiving it and read it from cover to cover.
»Makes me proud to be connected with such a service-oriented institution with high values and expectations of students, faculty, and staff.
»It reminds me of what an incredible university I attended.
»The intelligence of the articles reflects positively on the University.
»I think it's an excellent magazine covering a broad array of issues and I'm proud it comes from my alma mater.
»I just enjoy reading about the university that I graduated from some 48 years ago, what has happened to fellow alumni, the faculty, activities, and developments. I find it all very informative and beneficial.
»I feel connected to the school. It portrays the commitment of the University to present and former students as well as its commitment to enhancing education, the local community, the state, the country, and the global community.
»That, not only is it eminently readable, but that it captures the reality of SCU in an entertaining and attractive fashion.
»It's always there and consistently outstanding. I look forward to receiving every issue. It makes me feel that I'm still a part of the university community.
»I enjoy and am impressed at how the values of a Jesuit education are reflected in the magazine presenting a balance of education, business, community service and spiritual issues.
»To be connected with the university I graduated from and hearing about all the triumphs and struggles of those who were ahead or followed afterward.
»I especially like the high level of writing, of both content and rhetoric, and artistic design of the layout. Very professional.
»I like its engagement of important and even controversial issues, and the clear evidence of the University's (meaning its people's) concerned involvement in the real world. It is an institution helping make the world a better place-joining theory and practice.
»I receive three other magazines from different higher education institutions (one is from my post-grad school, one from my husband's alma mater, and one I am employed at) and Santa Clara Magazine is of a much higher caliber than the others.
What do you like least?
»Class Notes, speaking from the perspective of a (more) recent alum, are not very relevant to me and helping me build my network, which I do understand may be a reflection of my class, the rise of online networking sites, etc.
»It’s too student-centered. I would like it to be more alumni-focused with news from alumni and on current or retired professors, [though] exceptional student stories and inspirational profiles are a welcome addition.
»SCU was built on the success of its alumni. Most of the alums that contribute made good money in the business world.
»Too much emphasis on the “green” movement. Stewardship has been around “forever” as far as our Catholic beliefs are concerned, and all the emphasis on “green” activities portrays the University as if it were buying into a political agenda.
»I guess I have a liberal bent so I can get irked at letters or complaints from my more conservative classmates. Having said that, I am glad that the editorial board is open to a diversity of opinions.
»I would love to see more stories about the University’s reach beyond Silicon Valley, and more about alumni outside Northern California.
»No comics : )
»I do not care for the non-university related articles or the non-university issues that are written up. I do not care to read about social issues in this publication. I read other publications for those types of issues.
What would you change?
»Tackle more controversial issues, whether relating to the church, politics, or personal matters. Present more critical views of alumni, the institution, religion. Great to hear about accomplishments, but shortcomings and challenges are generally more interesting.
»As a student who took dance as a minor there, I would love to see more of the talent in that department highlighted. Perhaps an arts and entertainment segment each issue? I also love to see pictures of the campus...it brings me back there.
»I’d enjoy a historical interest section. Include photos of artifacts, architecture, and other sites of interest. Tell us the stories of the past, and introduce us to those who came before us.
»Environmental edition—climate change, displaced societies, energy policy, developed vs. developing nations, not less favorable treatment of one nation over another...these issues speak to the SCU core values, but I cannot remember when they last hit the pages of SCM.
»Please keep the magazine in print. Online reading is not an enjoyable option for me. Plus until last year, I always needed the hard copy to pass along to my father, who financed my degree, so he could read it and we could discuss the interesting articles.
»If doing a profile on a professor or their recent publication, provide a way to contact them or obtain a copy of their publication in the same place.
»Keep up the good job. Would like to see more individual profiles of professors, donors, etc. who contribute to making SCU a wonderful institution.
»Keep political items to a minimum. Not every drinks the "climate change" Kool-Aid.
»I would like a greater emphasis on student accomplishments and issues, as well as more discussion of debates going on at the University now-including those related to curriculum, growth, fundraising, student life, etc.
»Alumni are struggling and might benefit from reading articles discussing their real-world dilemmas. These could include topics such as the vanishing middle class, the student loan burden many graduates face, the loss of faith many lapsed Catholics face.
»More frequent issues. You might get more donations if you could produce a monthly magazine. I'd pay for a 12-issue subscription.
»I'd like to know if some of the books written by faculty members and discussed in your magazine are available through the SCU bookstore. I'd also like to see a regular feature highlighting faculty members who have been at the school for a long time.
»Less chest beating. More thought provoking. And ixnay on the troglodyte letters to the editor!
»How do you submit class notes? It is not clear to me. [The best way is to submit them here. -Ed.]
»More articles about overcoming challenges and how to make a better life. Articles that teach me something new and puts context around the information-why should I care.
»Environmental edition-climate change, displaced societies, energy policy, developed vs. developing nations, not less favorable treatment of one nation over another...these issues speak to the SCU core values, but cannot remember when they last hit the pages of SCM.
»Remember that a lot of alumni just happen to be conservative and are tired of the liberal slants to just about everything.
»Get some serious deep investigation journalism here. Right now, I assure you most sincerely, this slick glossy media relations instrument is never going to win any Pullitzer Prizes, or anything else. And get some more penetrating, trenchant scholarship.
»Could use more call-to-action for alumni, should promote alumni events in the area, get alumni to do more than just read the magazine, get people involved and they will donate more.
»Maybe this cannot be reported because it is not being done: There should be programs to help our students experience their faith at a deeper level to equip them for this highly secularized and morally bankrupt society in which they will find themselves.
»I have read magazines from major California universities. Ours is better.