Thanks to the 31 of you who completed our survey. We got quite a bit of helpful feedback. Below is a summary of what you told us.
We used randomresult.com to randomly select our 3 winners from those who completed the survey. The winners are…Mark Marcoplos, Terri Buckner, and Penny Rich. You can collect your prizes at our next OP Happy Hour on October 10 (location to be announced).
1. How did you first hear about OrangePolitics? (n = 31)
Many respondents noted that they had been reading OP for so long they didn’t remember how they first heard about it. Others said they learned about the site from one of the editors, a friend, or social media (Facebook, Twitter).
2. How do you usually access OrangePolitics? (n = 31)
Most respondents (58%) used the OP home page, and 42% followed links from Facebook or Twitter. Fewer respondents used the RSS feed or accessed OP through the Latest Content page.
3. What features of OrangePolitics do you use regularly? (n = 31)
Candidate forums: 68% (21)
Home page: 58% (18)
Latest Content page: 55% (17)
Election information pages: 48% (15)
4. How often do you visit OrangePolitics? (n = 31)
The most common answer was “Several times per week” with 29% (9), followed by “Once or just a few times per week” with 23% (7).
5. Have you ever attended an OrangePolitics event (e.g., Candidate Coming Out Party, Happy Hour, Open Editors Meeting)? (n = 31)
Most respondents (61%) had attended an OP event.
6. What OrangePolitics event(s) have you attended? (n = 18)
The mostly commonly attended OP events were the candidate coming out parties (89%), followed by happy hours (56%) and editors meetings (33%).
7. Event Feedback (n = 12)
In general, respondents enjoy OP events. In particular, the candidate coming out parties received the most positive responses:
- “Yes, I think the events are great - especially the get to know the candidate events.”
- “I think the candidate comings out are very cool events - great way for those paying the closest attn to meet candidates, and for candidates to meet their cohort.”
8. Have you ever followed OrangePolitics' live-tweeting of local events on Twitter? (n = 29)
Yes: 77% (21)
No: 28% (8)
9. What event(s) have you followed our live-tweeting for? (n = 21)
Chapel Hill Town Council: 76% (16)
Orange County Board of Commissioners: 71% (15)
Carrboro Board of Aldermen: 52% (11)
10. Live-Tweeting Feedback (n = 18)
Many respondents felt the live-tweeting was useful, allowing people to stay informed when they could not attend or watch the meetings. For example: “LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE the live tweeting. It is a great way for citizens to stay connected if they can't always attend the meetings.”
One person wrote, “to be fair, I'm not sure the meetings lend themselves to it as much as a good summary would - so I don't find then as useful as a summary.”
Editors’ note: We sometimes archive our live-tweeting of meetings in Storify. We will begin to do this more regularly.
One respondent gave this suggestion: “Yes the live tweets are useful and should continue. I would suggest having two live tweeters if possible.... one to post events as they happen and one to answer questions from readers in real time. One person would not be able to do both jobs. Perhaps this should be reserved for very special/important meetings because it might be difficult to recruit two people for one meeting.”
Editors’ note: We don’t actually get a lot of questions while we live-tweet. We do try to answer those that we do get in real time, but you are right it would often be hard to get to a large number of questions while live-tweeting an event.
11. What does OP do well? (n = 24)
Overall, respondents felt we do many things well. Respondents noted that OP “provides a forum for discussion,” “highlights issues that are not getting attention elsewhere,” keeps people informed of meetings, “understands the nuances and details of local issues,” “raises social justice issues.” People also appreciated the diversity of posts and noted that the candidate forums are excellent.
This quote sums it up fairly well: “Election coverage is great: usually the most comprehensive set of resources, dates, registration deadlines, etc. The live-tweeting of public meetings is a place where you're crushing the competition (except for kcstarheel [Kristen Smith, Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce]) It's great that editor meetings are open; that's not going to happen at CHNews / WCHL.”
12. What could OP do better? (n = 23)
Respondents had a number of constructive ideas for how we could improve. Here is a sampling:
“it might be worth trying to get a topical piece up once every two weeks or so to see if that's sustainable.”
Editors’ note: This is something we shoot for. In the summer it is more difficult.
“More contributors of course!”
“It seems to me that there are many important issues that go unreported and unremarked upon. I don't know how to accomplish this. I would be willing to be part of a team that looks into this.”
Editors’ note: We are always looking for people to post content. Anyone can publish a post to the website; just remember to log in. You can also always reach out to one of the editors (firstname.lastname@example.org) and suggest an idea for a post.
“Bring back the stats of posted articles and blogs.”
Editors’ note: With the rollout of the new site, we are searching for a better way to implement this feature to provide better statistics than the previous site was capable of offering. We miss this feature, too, and plan to bring it back as soon as we can.
13. How does OrangePolitics compare to other sources of local political coverage (e.g., WCHL/Chapelboro.com, the Chapel Hill News, other blogs)? (n = 24)
Some of you had a hard time comparing us to traditional news outlets. One respondent stated, “more in-depth of issues but certainly less of a "reporting" style and more opinion - which is good. I dont think it should try to be otherwise.”
You lauded OP for its timeliness and ability to provide greater detail consistently, while noting that OP is “written from a much younger perspective.”
Editors’ note: Those of us who are 40 and over appreciate being called “younger!” We are happy to have brought various perspectives to local issues over the years, and we plan to continue to do so, not just through our own voices, but through others as well.
14. Have you ever written a blog post on OrangePolitics? (n = 25)
Yes: 15 (60%)
No: 10 (40%)
15. If you have not ever written a blog post on OrangePolitics, why not? (n = 8)
Some of you said you were too shy or that you didn’t want to get attacked, while others thought that folks already said what they wanted to say, but better.
A couple of respondents said they didn’t know they could post or had never been asked.
Editors’ note: Anyone can post, provided they log in. Consider this your invitation to post about something going on in our community that you think others should know about. Part of what we aspire to do is to provide a venue for progressive perspectives on local issues, not just our individual perspectives on local issues.
16. Have you ever posted a comment on OrangePolitics? (n = 25)
Yes: 19 (76%)
No: 6 (24%)
17. If you have not ever posted a comment on OrangePolitics, why not?
The few respondents who answered said that they were too shy, had no time, and were more of an observer.
18. What would make you more likely to post on OrangePolitics? (n = 21)
Folks stated that they’d be more likely to post if there were more content on the site or if they had more time.
One respondent took us to task: “More open to all ideas/viewpoints. ‘Running off’ folks who disagree was a major mistake (intentional or not)”
Editors’ note: In the 10 years of OP, two users have been banned from the website, both as a result of persistent violations of our Community Guidelines (such as posting abusive and/or hateful content) and only after lengthy discussion by the editors. We recognize that other individuals may have stopped posting on OP because a particular dialogue became too contentious for them. But we want to be clear that we welcome all individuals who have a viewpoint on local issues to comment and engage in dialogue on OP. We are in the process of revising the Community Guidelines to clarify our mission and purpose.
19-20. What kind of content do you find particularly useful on OrangePolitics? (n = 22)
Useful content included “election recaps, especially statistical;” “Perspectives from local officials, activists, and issues experts;” back-and-forth discussion, maps, and meeting schedules and coverage. One respondent said, “Documentation of the issues at stake and the processes which affect life in our community.”
Another noted: “Political content about Orange County and it's municipalites as well as state news that impinges on the county. And when I say political content, that includes economic news, issues of heatlh and education, as well as financial, tax, and electorial issues. OP does not pretend to be "fair and balanced" coverage. It is clearly a progressive publication. So I don't understand why OP does not endorse candidates. There was a clear difference in the Sheriff's race that warranted an endorsement.”
Editors’ note: OP has never issued endorsements. However, in every election, we provide an endorsements thread in which we encourage editors and community members alike to discuss who they support and why.
22. Do you have any other feedback about the new OrangePolitics? (n = 12)
A number of folks told us what they liked and the new site and what could be fixed. We are working on a number of updates and fixes.
One respondent told us this: “I'm not sure if you have a different way of handling blog posts with the new OP, but I've often wondered what the procedure is for review of new blog posts and deciding whether or not to move it to the home page. I wonder how many great blog posts don't get "promoted".”
Editors’ note: We are working on a policy for promoting posts to the front page. Over the past few months, we have already begun quietly promoting most substantive posts to the front page, and we plan to do more (including additional promotion via social media). All new posts can be found on the Latest Content page.
23. Do you have any additional comments or feedback about OrangePolitics? (n = 10)
Comments were along these general lines:
“I heart OP”
“Thank you all who make it possible. It's a great community resource.”
“Love all you guys. :)”
“try and not become anyone's tool.”
Editors’ note: Aw, thanks and we’ll try not too.
If anyone wants to share ideas for specific issues or stories we should be covering, please comment below. We’d love to hear any other feedback below too.