Volume XVII, Issue 27 # July 2 - July 8, 2009

Letter from the Editor

20 Questions, Answered

Your advice on steering the right course

It’s been a month since I quizzed you with 20 questions on how you read Bay Weekly. In the days and weeks that followed, you made time to take the quiz.

Now, in our annual issue devoted to reading, I’m reporting what you had to say.

You’ve told me what we’re doing right. Lots, I was pleased to read. One big surprise: you bucked the journalism trend to ever-shorter stories (Twitter sets the limit at a haiku-like 144 characters).

And what you think we ought to do differently.

First on most everybody’s wrong list: Don’t ask so many questions! As reader Margaret Gwathmey of Harwood wrote: “Twenty Questions! Yikes!”

Sorry about that. Filling Bay Weekly’s space makes me feel like a bartender mixing you a drink. I don’t want to give you a short pour. Truth be told, I can’t write a letter without filling the whole page.

But, Gwathmey reminded me, I still missed a big question, and an important little one:

“You should have asked how we read the ads (I do). And if we cut out and save and file articles (I do).

Other suggested changes: Fishing’s fine, many of you wrote. But do we have to have so much about it? Writers suggested other sporting activities. Sporting Life columnist Dennis Doyle covers shooting as well as fishing, but he’s not the writer for sailing or horse sports.

Sailing was a two-sided issue. With Steve Carr’s writing about the Volvo Ocean Race, when my quiz came out, some asked for more sailing. Others said no more, please, noting that plenty of other publications, including SpinSheet and The Capital, cover the sport.

The hottest point of controversy, I’m delighted to report, was Rob Brezsny’s Real Astrology. “Hate it: Only thing I never read,” writes Barbara Tether of North Beach. “Astrology is not for anyone with at least an eighth grade education,” adds Don Stewart of Fairhaven.

Fans such as Leslie Diamond of Annapolis are just single minded: “I always read the horoscope first,” she writes. “I find it totally in keeping with your philosophy, thinking positively, progressively, innovatively. It’s perky, fun, thought provoking.”

Thank you for your time and for helping us steer the right course.

In this week’s Correspondence, below, you’ll see excerpts from some of your answers.

It’s never too late to help us keep Bay Weekly the paper you want to read. Find the original 20-question quiz at http://www.bayweekly.com/old-site/year09/issue_23/edit.html. And no, you don’t have to answer all 20 to help us out. Any answer you feel inspired to write is the answer I want to read.

       Sandra Olivetti Martin
     editor and publisher