Newspaper Archive of
Catholic Northwest Progress
Seattle, Washington
November 9, 1962     Catholic Northwest Progress
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November 9, 1962
 

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g .... ....... U ..... . .... II ....... DR. WOODROW R. CLEVINGER, Associate Professor of Marketing, School of Commerce and Finance, Seattle University, directed the Catholic Northwest Progress readership survey, results of which are published herewith. Yalue of a Readership Survey By Or. Woodrow R. Clevimgr HinE Catholic Northwest Progress is one of the first weekly newspapers the western United States to conduct a readership survey and study of its subscribers. UntLl recently it has been mainly the large metropoli- tan daily newspapers who have conducted this type of research. In modern American newspaper publishing it is becoming standard practice to make annual or periodi surveys of a paper's subscribers, or of all potential subscribers within its circulation area. Known as "reader- ship research and media research" such studies give publishers a valua- ble tool. Editors learn more preci.se information about the characteristics of their reader families. Readers can be defined with greater exactitude to the writer or advertiser, who then in turn can more effectively communicate his ideas or messages to them through the medium of the newspaper. The editor of a large New York daily once said, "An editor has an obligation to himself and his advertisers to define his readers." When a newspaper's readers number in many thousands and are located in many counties over halfa state, it is impossible for the editor to become ac- quai, nted with them: And not knowing his readers, the editor is never very certain that the messages and information he is printing are being communicated with desired effectiveness. The modern editor no longer has to publish with uncertainty through intuition and guess work. A scientifically conducted survey of a sample of his readers who will cooperate and respond to his inquiry will yield reliable and basic facts about the reading audience. Knowing the socio- economic characteristics and reading habits of the audience enables the publisher to decide his publishing policy with far greater certainty. Com- munication effectiveness results. The reader, publisher and advertiser all benefit from such research. It has been a rewarding experience ha research procedure for the faculty and students in marketing in the Seattle University School of Commerce and Finance to participate in the first readership survey of the family subscribers to the Catholic Northwest Progress. Three hundred fami.lies in the Archdiocese of Seattle responded to the questionnaires prepared by the University. Through the impartial andunbiased approach basic to statistical methods, the University researchers selected at ran- dom 1,000 Northwest Progress reader homes to receive the questionnaire. Through random sampling every one of the Northwest Progress reader families living within western Washington and the defined area of the Seattle Archdiocese had an opportunity to receive a questionnaire. After the data were returned, tabulated and computed into fre- quency distributions by the IBM equipment of Data Processing Service Company of Seattle, marketing personnel at Seattle University then made interpretations and analyses of the data reported by the responding fami- lies. Some of the findings are *presented wi.th charts, graphs and general comments in the text of this special publication. All statistical surveys of human populations are subject to variation and percentages of error. Surveys carried out scientifically, however, en- able a statistician to generalize with more reliability about the true na- ture of the population under study. The reliability of the data obtained from 286 randomly selected interviews was dependent on the size and representativeness of the sample. Based on the population of 38,000 Northwest Progress reader fami- lies, the sample is large enough for drawing generalizations by use of the inductive method of reasoning. The survey is more reliable in the accuracy of its stated averages, IPe 4, Second Section EDWIN W. BROTHERTON, president of Data Processing Service, explains how the market survey of readers of the Catholic Northwest Progress was pro- cessed by his company's electronic equipment. Advantages of Elecfronic By Edwin W. grotherton NTIL the advent of electronic punched card machines and, more re- cently, binary digital computers, the problem of analyzing large vol- umes of written material was a formidable task. In actual practice the clerical task was so involved, with manual methods, that it was generally necessary to rely on small samples for prediction methods. This in turn tended to lessen the probability of a correct prediction. In analyzing the questionnaires which Dr. Woodrow R. Clevinger, of Seattle University, had sent out to a list of readers of the Catholic North- west Progress, selected at random from the subscription file, the prob- lem presented itself in three phases. First, it was necessary to code each question and the various levels of response in a form which might easily be keypunched into I.B.M. cards. Second was the expansion of the re- sponses into individual cards. Third was the actual segregation and tabu- lation of like responses, within established limits, of like responses into arithmetical relationship and computation of the percentages of the rela- tionship of the particular response to the group and the entire list of respondents. The first phase might be called the clarification of the "data" and the second and third steps, which were performed by electronic ma- chines, would be called the processing. The main advantage of using electronic machines in this work is the speed at which the material may be sorted i.n various combinations, per- centages computed, and tabulations made. The computer used to analyze the percentages between the various groups will perform as many as sixty steps of arithmetical function, addition, subtraction, multiplication or di.vision in only sixth tenths of a second and punch the result in a card. The printer tabulator will assemble information for totals and print information from the punched cards at a possible rate of 18,000 charac- ters a minute. Because of this factor, it has been possible to make complete analy- ses of all of the responses and to segregate the information in the form which was determined by Dr. Clevinger to be statistically significant. Use of data processing methods in processing the questionnaire sent to a selected list of Catholic Northwest Progress subscribers, guaranteed speed, analysis proficiency and accurate results of the survey. I am certain that advertisers and advertising agencies in the area will find the results of this particular .survey revealing and interesting to them- selves and their clients. Few publications on the West Coast have had such a survey proc- essed by electronic equipment. The Progress survey could set a precedent ha the newspaper field insofar as market surveys are concerned. medians and statistical categories which describe or define Catholic fami- lies living within and in the suburban districts of western Washington cities. The preponderance of Catholic families of the Archdiocese are urban, living in areas centered on Seattle, Tacoma, Everett, Renton, Bel- lingham, Bremerton, Olympia, Vancouver, Longview, Hoquiam and Aber- deen. Each of these cities comprised subsamples which were studied. Subsamples were also received from Catholic family readers of the Northwest Progress living in rural nonfarm and rural farm districts. The sample as a whole has a reliability of approximately 95 per cent.