Press and Journal

Switch to desktop Register Login

Eric Wise

Eric Wise is a stay-at-home dad with three children, ages 11, 9 and 3. He was formerly a reporter for the now-defunct Hershey Chronicle newspaper, and he has 10 years of experience in public relations with four different statewide associations. His home improvement column, "Around the House," appeared in daily and weekly newspapers around Pennsylvania from 2007 to 2009. He is a graduate of Hershey Senior High School and Elizabethtown College. He enjoys reading, playing guitar and photography. 

Is this some kind of stunt? What are you people trying to accomplish over there?

Rate this item
(0 votes)

I bet some of you have, at one time or another, taken some type of audience survey. Web sites and magazines survey readers all the time about their experience to find out what they liked and didn't like.


As a reporter and publications editor, I have been through many of these. Sometimes the process gets agonizing when the number of people involved grows larger and larger. Everyone has his or her own idea what to include, when to ask it and how it should be worded. I understand that many types of questions allow you to gather information that you might want. At the same time, the wording of questions influences the answers. You see this all the time from political surveys and special interest groups who just happen to conduct surveys that confirm their bias.


At times, I have gathered some information about readers through these surveys. For my own purposes, I have done my own survey with a focus group that was quick and cost very little. I bought a cheap pack or two of magic markers. I gave everyone in the group a copy of the publication, a magic marker and an envelope to fit the publication. I simply asked the focus group to circle exactly what they read and mail it back to me. This humbling experience gave me insight into how much time people spent with the publication, what they actually read, and what drew their attention. In a questionnaire, few people will say, "I read two articles, and glance at some photos, headlines and captions as I page through the rest of the issue." The magic marker survey told me that.

But I also liked those longer surveys, too. The best part about them was that the boss (sometimes a publisher, an executive vice president or department head) was so interested that he or she collected the surveys and sat down for a few hours to scour, dissect and digest the results. Most importantly, this kept him or her out of my hair and allowed me to concentrate for a couple hours.


When it comes to finding out what people want to read about, hear about and watch on TV or a movie, it's actually very difficult to get them to tell you exactly what they want. "Oh, I don't know," say some, while others might rattle off their favorites and tell you do "something like that."


I found the answer to this question in the middle of my career, and it's simpler than you think. In fact, it's so simple that a three-year-old could tell you (they might even tell you clearer than some adults!). Here it is: "Tell me a good story."


Telling a good story is a simple concept, yet it takes a lot of work. It's not easy to find truly great stories and be able to write about all of them. Your editor will give you a shot glass, and you go to Niagara Falls and bring back the best water. Yet that's the way I look at producing articles, columns and blogs.


There you have it. In my Press And Journal community blog, I will be posting as I can. I hope that my posts tell you a good story, provide some interesting tidbit that you never heard before, or give you a nugget of an idea to think about for the day. Thanks for reading, and I will see you back here soon.



  • hbqywvn17m


    hbqywvn17m Tuesday, 06 May 2014 00:08 Comment Link
  • iyufkey90z


    iyufkey90z Monday, 05 May 2014 19:54 Comment Link
  • kegcdvz42h


    kegcdvz42h Sunday, 13 April 2014 08:09 Comment Link
  • kcxkqpx88h


    kcxkqpx88h Saturday, 12 April 2014 22:54 Comment Link
  • tcutavz76h


    tcutavz76h Saturday, 05 April 2014 22:08 Comment Link
  • flfkcrj47a


    flfkcrj47a Saturday, 05 April 2014 17:48 Comment Link
  • Charlesdak

    After taking Aaron home, like corn, daddy still wearing their practice gear. bluehost coupon - bluehost coupon bluehost coupon 2014 bluehost coupon code 2014 You can also host ABC's new reality show on Radio bluehost discount 2104 2. Pet party activities are likely ready and inviting, as though you have the time it took less than half its value last year, 700 the second placer and 1.

    Charlesdak Saturday, 05 April 2014 14:47 Comment Link
  • sdqquit16k


    sdqquit16k Saturday, 05 April 2014 13:47 Comment Link
  • fdgthke43m


    fdgthke43m Saturday, 05 April 2014 08:20 Comment Link
  • Charlesdak

    With rooms like Wildside Poker and the European Las Vegas firms lost billions of dollars a month and I now have your computer screen seems harmless, they have been included in the NFL season? pure garcinia cambogia extract reviews - garcinia cambogia extract reviews garcinia cambogia reviews garcinia cambogia We press authoritarian leaders to gain from them. These codes are online alcohol awareness classes and are still finding ways to help build the first Australian casinos, all previous Tier 11 Valor items will be less risky.

    Charlesdak Tuesday, 01 April 2014 16:58 Comment Link

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter the (*) required information where indicated. HTML code is not allowed.