PublicTechnology editor Sam Trendall introduces this year’s audience research project, with all readers invited to take part and tell us – as candidly as possible – where and how we could improve
The early weeks of a career as a professional journalist surely represent one of life’s most concentrated programmes of what might politely be called ‘constructive feedback’.
Most of us end up in a newsroom because of a belief that we have some aptitude for writing and reporting. In the months that follow, such belief is invariably tested to its limits as you are told that each new piece you produce is your best work yet – shortly before a well-meaning news editor whips out the red pen and explains in excruciating detail how and why every single word has been changed.
But, after this initial ice-water shock to the self-esteem, it really is not long before you realise that every adjective deleted, sentence simplified, and fact-check requested represents an invaluable insight into how the things you write are experienced by readers. And, once you do, soon enough you also come to recognise that it is a kindness to be told so matter-of-factly how to make all the little improvements that, before you know it, add up to a big difference.
We really want to hear your feedback, take it on board and, hopefully, use it to do better
In turn, this courtesy is extended to colleagues – all of whose ego has long since been stripped away. No team is so likely to aggressively nitpick each other’s work as a group of reporters and editors. And then – sincerely – thank each other for doing so.
All of which is a circuitous way of saying, on behalf of PublicTechnology: we deal with criticism.
So, let us have it.
Alongside our sister publications, we have recently launched the latest version of our reader survey. And we really want to hear from you.
The survey is conducted in complete anonymity and should take no more than a few minutes. It includes various questions about the topics and types of content and events that are of most interest to our audience.
There is also the chance to tell us – as forthrightly as you wish – how to do better: what you would like to see more, or less of; the key areas where our coverage may currently be lacking; and what we need to do to ensure that our news reporting, interviews and analysis, and events programme are as valuable as possible for those who engage with them.
As a journalist, I am always conscious of being something of an outsider among an audience largely comprised of public sector technologists, and the partners that support their brilliant work.
As such, I want to ensure that we are making every effort possible to get under the skin of the sector, reflect back and rigorously report its challenges and successes, and provide insight, information and chances to connect that are of real value to our readers and event attendees.
Such efforts are largely comprised of diligently doing one thing: listening.
So, we invite and encourage to take our survey and give us your feedback, as we really, really want to hear it, take it on board and, hopefully, use it to do better.
I thank you in advance for your time and participation, and genuinely look forward to hearing from you – however ‘constructive’ you choose to be.
Sam Trendall, editor, PublicTechnology