ASK ELi: Survey Says . . .

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Friday, July 17, 2015, 7:19 am
Alice Dreger

We now have the results to our first ELi reader survey which focused primarily on asking people to rank, in terms of interest to them, the “Ask ELi to Investigate” requests we’ve gotten from readers. We had 52 respondents to the survey, although not all answered every question.

Readers were asked to rank the following possible investigation areas in terms of level of interest. Number values were assigned as follows:

  • very interested = 1
  • somewhat interested = 2
  • neutral = 3
  • disinterested = 4
  • very disinterested = 5


This means that a lower number means higher interest. Here are the results, shown in order of high-to-low average interest:

"Do surrounding municipalities provide as many TIF or other tax incentives to developers as EL? I don't understand why incentives are needed to construct apartment buildings when it appears the these units cannot be built fast enough in the region." Average came to 1.60.

“Your series on campaign contributions was especially eye-opening. I would be interested in finding out more about where the people currently running for council are raising their money from.” Average 1.77.

“What’s the history of the empty buildings downtown (big bank, little bank, Evergreen Arms)?” Average 1.86.

“First, you folks do a great job! What is the cost/benefit status of the annexation of the Bath Township property north of the City? Was this a good or bad decision based on city services/costs vs tax revenue generated?”  Average 2.18.

“What is going to be the cost to taxpayers of the ‘welcome back dance party’ Susan Woods is organizing for returning MSU students? Please find out the cost of police overtime, the cost of closing the parking lot, the cost of equipment, etc." Average 2.40.

“I love the in-depth articles of ELi! One thing that would be interesting for those of us who are political junkies is a breakdown by precinct on voting in elections. Voting patterns? Turnout in the precincts?" Average 2.45.

"Regarding the City’s ‘Rumors and Trending Topics’ webpage, who decides what topics will be addressed? Who writes the text? Who does the research/fact-checking? Who signs off on a given entry? Who takes responsibility?" Average 2.71.

This means that all of these potential investigation areas ranked of higher interest than “neutral” to our readers. So we will get to work on these topics, favoring those that are of “most interest,” keeping in mind that some require more research time than others.

Please note that we sometimes use readers’ “Ask ELi to Investigate” questions as the basis for special reports and news stories, especially if they open a can of worms. That means answers to the questions above may not come in our weekly “Ask ELi,” but may show up in our regular news feed or in another feature. Remember you can always use the “search” feature at this website to look for what you are interested in.

In the survey, we also asked if readers had anything else they wanted ELi to investigate. In response to that, we received 23 suggestions! As our Managing Editor Ann Nichols said to me, our team easily has enough public service reporting work to do to keep up busy for a very long time.

As a reminder, if you’d like to be a paid or volunteer reporter for ELi, contact us. We would be glad to have more team members to help us with reporting! We have meetings coming up for people potentially interested in joining the reporting team.

In the survey, we also asked about use of social media beyond our webpage news site, which is our primary service. Here are the results of those inquiries:

Forty-three people answered the question about whether they are signed up for our free, once-a-week, news roundup email. Of those, 58% were signed up, 42% not. If you want to sign up, go to the right-side column of this page and enter your email address where it says “subscribe to our weekly roundup.” It is free and you can unsubscribe at any time. Here is a sample of what it looks like.

Forty people answered the question, “If you are on Facebook, have you visited ELi’s Facebook page?” Of those, 40% percent said yes, 37.5% said no, and 22.5 said they are not on Facebook. Our Facebook page is here.

Thirty-nine people answered the question, “If you are on Twitter, do you follow ELi?” Of those, 20.5% said yes, 18% said no, and 61.5% said they are not on Twitter. Our Twitter feed is here.

Check out tomorrow’s “Your ELi” column for a sampling of what people said in response to the question of why they do or do not donate to financially support the work of ELi.

Thanks again to everyone who took the survey!


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