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Kudos, complaints and suggestions voiced in “InnerAction” survey

2/18/2002
February 18, 2002

The “InnerAction” surveys have been tallied, and we have the results! A big thank-you to the 282 people who responded (39 percent of Austin Peay's 720 employees). The high response rate assures that the results are likely to be representative of the entire faculty and staff.

Here's what you told us. (Percentages have been rounded to the nearest whole number.):

74 percent of you read “InnerAction” almost every week.
18 percent of you read it “occasionally”
1 percent of you read it only when an article about your office or department will be in it.
7 percent never read it.

7 percent read blurbs (briefs) only.
78 percent read blurbs and a few articles.
15 percent read blurbs and almost every article.

34 percent of you say you find the content “highly relevant.”
59 percent find the content “somewhat relevant.”
3 percent find the content “not at all relevant.”
3 percent didn't answer this question.

93 percent read “InnerAction” online.
4 percent print it and read the printed version.
3 percent indicated they neither read it online nor print it out to read.

64 percent are confident that the information is presented in an unbiased way.
14 percent are not confident that the information is presented in an unbiased way.
22 percent either didn't respond to the question or answered with a comment.

77 percent are likely to read about University news.
73 percent are likely to read about upcoming events.
67 percent are likely to read about TBR plans and actions that may affect Austin Peay.
65 percent are likely to read about faculty and staff.
55 percent are likely to read about issues facing higher education.
42 percent are likely to read about other universities who compete with us for students.
33 percent are likely to read about alumni and their activities and accomplishments.

44 percent find “InnerAction” highly valuable and want it to be continued.
42 percent find “InnerAction” slightly valuable and want it to be continued.
2 percent find “InnerAction” slightly valuable but believe it should be changed or discontinued.
2 percent find “InnerAction” of no value and believe it should be significantly changed or discontinued.
10 percent of respondents didn't answer this question.

Twenty-eight people responded to our question about bias with comments. Most were along the lines of these two: “The purpose of “InnerAction” is to promote the University…so in a sense it is biased by its very nature and purpose. And that doesn't bother me at all.” “I am sure some of the information has spin that accentuates the positive or ignores the negative. Still, for the most part I view it as a simple reporting of campus goings-on.”

Five of the respondents expressed the view that “InnerAction” had a “pro-Administration” bias, that it followed the “University line” or put an “administrative spin” on articles dealing with issues of controversy.

About a dozen people told us you love “InnerAction,” found it “very helpful” and “wonderful” and hoped we'd “keep up the good work.” Thank you. We certainly will try!

You also really like the briefs-plus-articles format.

But you wagged your finger at our occasional lack of timeliness. “We see it in the local newspaper before it appears in “InnerAction,”” you complained. We know! And we hate that! But we also offer this explanation: The public relations staff sends news to the media—including “InnerAction”— the minute PR staff are informed of it. Because the “The Leaf Chronicle” is a daily publication and “InnerAction” is a weekly, we're inevitably beaten to the punch sometimes. A casualty of our publishing calendar.

Two of you fussed about errors and omissions. One person noted he/she “was quoted in an article…had not been asked for one, and had not offered one, and the facts attributed to me were not true.” Oh, dear! If this person will step forward, we'll apologize in person!

Two people noted that “InnerAction” took too long to download. Our Web coordinator, Laquita Maxwell, has corrected that problem by sending “InnerAction” out in a text-only format. The jazzy nameplate is gone, but the download process will be quicker and “InnerAction” will take us less space in your Outlook mailbox.

You said the information was sometimes repetitive because it already had come out via Exchange. This problem is under study.

Along with a few complaints, we got lots of suggestions, and some popped up in enough surveys to warrant attention.

You want to know more about individual departments and what they do.
You want “InnerAction” to have pictures.
You want more articles on staff members.
You want reports from Faculty Senate and Staff Council meetings.
Good suggestions, and we'll try to implement them if possible.

One idea intrigued us. In response to our query about bias, one person said, “If faculty members with tenure were responsible [for some content], then this ‘house organ' would have a much greater opportunity to have an independent, unbiased voice.” Very interesting. So we've begun exploring the options. Stay tuned.

Some of your comments were amusingly contradictory. “Too many features. Not enough hard news,” said one. “More features. More staff profiles,” said another.

“Give it energy!” said one. Needs “a more serious tone, fewer exclamation points,” said another.

Which just goes to show (as they say), you can't please everyone. But we'll keep trying!

Woops. An exclamation point.