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.



  • jzzrwtu

    Nike Retro Lifestyle shoes sale chanel outlet UK chanel soldes replica burberry ties In fact, the total immigrants taken in by Russia, Germany, Ukraine and France combined amount to less than our immigration totals. This does not include the illegal immigrants who flood over our borders. I do not hate America. Medical Center in St. Petersburg, FL, and the satellite clinic near my home in Bradenton. Medical center.

    chanel purses burberry scarf sale Fiat will build the 500 minicar for North America and at a plant in Mexico. Fiat also is likely to make some Alfa Romeo models in North America. Those cars will be distributed globally. A gourmet restaurant is on the premises. Tours of Dutchess County wine country and boat trips down the Hudson River are available nearby. Rooms in the main house begin at $225 per night as of 2010.10 Olde..


    jzzrwtu Thursday, 23 January 2014 06:32 Comment Link
  • bxx7axal6f9




    bxx7axal6f9 Tuesday, 21 January 2014 03:24 Comment Link
  • gff3doly7n0


    gff3doly7n0 Monday, 20 January 2014 22:47 Comment Link
  • nlb2agvl2p2



    nlb2agvl2p2 Monday, 20 January 2014 06:16 Comment Link
  • WilliamMi

    ウォレットはFFL floridafriendly landscapingtmプログラムからFYI得る

    WilliamMi Monday, 20 January 2014 03:58 Comment Link
  • wsv2zaxm1q0

    小惑星一寸先は闇前売スペイン人世論鳥籠物覚え我が輩皮 革定期的。

    wsv2zaxm1q0 Monday, 20 January 2014 01:41 Comment Link
  • mcd3skro9t3



    mcd3skro9t3 Sunday, 19 January 2014 21:02 Comment Link
  • wlg8godn6r2


    wlg8godn6r2 Sunday, 19 January 2014 21:02 Comment Link
  • mws7tpyb8u9




    mws7tpyb8u9 Sunday, 19 January 2014 03:14 Comment Link
  • qgv6pnoj5r8


    qgv6pnoj5r8 Sunday, 19 January 2014 02:18 Comment Link

Leave a comment

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