By LYDIA BERGLAR
Several readers expressed interest in hearing the results of the Sentinel’s readership survey (published in the January 3rd issue), so here’s an overview of the feedback. Thank you to all who responded!
The Sentinel received nine written responses and a handful of in-person comments and suggestions. In addition to the official survey, the Sentinel staff has received many comments over the last year which round out the picture of our readership base and supplement the survey answers.
Through this combined feedback, it’s clear that most readers have parts of the paper they enjoy and other parts they skim or skip. A number of subscribers reported that they read the paper from front to back; others primarily subscribe for the obituaries or police reports. Some readers peruse the classifieds while others skip that section entirely.
When it comes to politics, it should be no surprise that readers’ views are varied. Several reported that they like the Michael Reagan column while at least one routinely skips it. Another reader dislikes “right-wing editorials” while others indicate an affinity for such viewpoints.
Sections and columns that received numerous accolades are David Carroll’s column, the front page News Section, and the Dade County Historical Society column. Eddie Marable’s articles in the Church Section received one shout-out about a church congregation that subscribes to the paper in order to read his pieces.
Our readers were also full of ideas for additions to the paper. One that will easily be incorporated is returning to a chart form of election results (rather than article form). Readers also requested that ages be added back to the police report, and thanks to the Dade County Sheriff’s Office, this was easy to do. Other ideas included recipes, an advice column written by a “wise” local, and crossword puzzles.
Readers would like to continue seeing coverage of local government news, school projects/accomplishments/news, human interest stories, small businesses, event and activity details, and volunteer groups/projects.
One major topic that several readers would like to know more about is the drug crisis in Dade County: addiction, deaths, policies, prevention methods, treatment options, and how opioid crisis funds from the state are being used.
One reader in particular inquired about specific local government topics, such as the City of Trenton’s animal shelter, the county’s building/renovation projects, the sheriff’s office and fire department training facilities, the sheriff’s office forfeiture fund, the homeless situation in the county and governmental plans tied to homelessness, as well as county government financial details and dealings.
Before each election, some readers would like information about each candidate. Overall, readers would like to more often hear from local government employees who are not as front and center as elected officials, our state representatives, volunteers, and locals with interesting stories.
Thank you, readers, for the article ideas and for supporting our local newspaper. The Sentinel’s goal is to continue providing a little bit of something for every reader.