I Want to Hear from You
By James H. Schwartz | From Preservation | July/August 2011
One of the paradoxes of this job is sending issues to hundreds of thousands of readers everywhere from Hoboken to Honolulu but rarely finding out what they think of the stories between the covers. Do you like them or loathe them? Are they informative and inspiring or (gulp) stultifying and soporific? Inquiring minds want to know!
Sure, a few of you occasionally write letters suggesting sites that merit coverage or destinations worth visiting, and I receive a number of e-mails about our fine use of photography—or our misuse of commas. But I almost never hear your thoughts about an entire issue.
Let's change that.
Do me a favor and read through the July/August copy of Preservation with a critical eye. Then, share your opinions: 1) Which was your favorite article? 2) Which was your least favorite article? 3) What would you like to read more about in the magazine? (Features about local preservation successes? Stories about National Trust programs? Homeowner chronicles? Travel tales?)
I have no preconceived notions about how you'll tackle this assignment or what you'll say. We conduct our own issue reviews at the office and find plenty of things to say about our work—both positive and negative—but our opinions are shaped by the connections we forge with the subjects of stories and the passion we feel for a particular project or a region of the country. I'd like to hear what you think.
My request is part of a Trust-wide effort to learn more about existing members and about new supporters who might become part of the preservation family. To that end, we're conducting surveys, evaluating all our messaging and communications tools, and soliciting opinions from readers. We've already learned a lot about where preservationists live and about the programs and benefits that tie them to the National Trust. I'd like to dig a bit deeper and benefit from your personal take on the stories we feature in the magazine.
So here's the deal. Spend a few extra minutes with this issue. Then send me an e-mail (or a postcard), with your answers to the three questions above. This is an informal survey, but I know I'll benefit from your suggestions and insights. Since you already subscribe to Preservation, I won't offer to send a free issue, but I will promise to read your thoughts with care—and respond to your message if you include a return address.
Don't be a stranger!
For more photos, stories, and tips, subscribe to the print edition of Preservation magazine.