We asked, you answered

Heather Bryant / Editor-in -Chief
Oct. 4, 2011

The Sun Star is a newspaper that belongs to its readers. The Sun Star is a rare blend of a student organization and a student business. This newspaper receives $2.45 every semester from each student who pays the Student Activities fee. The rest of the budget comes from Sun Star staff selling advertising. Students have a stake in the Sun Star from start to finish.

Over the past few months, we conducted a reader survey to find out what readers like and don’t like about the paper. Fifty-one people responded.

Readers answered a series of questions, rated content and appearance, provided information for ad sales and made suggestions for what they want to see in future articles. Many of the survey-takers also left comments about the Sun Star’s content or appearance.

“I really enjoy reading the Sun Star in its print form. I always pick it up before heading to my dorm each week and it’s a great read,” one respondent wrote.

Some readers also thought The Sun Star should be an independent entity, they said. In the survey, 80 percent of respondents felt that The Sun Star was money was well spent. Also, 60 percent felt that The Sun Star should be an independent entity receiving its own fee. Currently The Sun Star is under a governance agreement with ASUAF. We receive seven percent of the Student Activities fee. Additionally, two ASUAF representatives are on The Sun Star publication board.

“Why isn’t the Sun Star an independent entity? Shouldn’t it be tied closer to the Journalism department as opposed to the student government?” one reader wrote. “I hope to see the Sun Star branch away from ASUAF some day,” another said.

A majority of survey takers rated The Sun Star as “pretty good” or “amazing” in the areas of news content, photos and overall appearance.

Last year, The Sun Star brought home awards for both writing and page design.

Though 88 percent of respondents indicated they get most of their news online, 71 percent reported that they read The Sun Star in print, or read both the online and print version.

We also asked readers to rank their favorite sections in the newspaper. Campus Life stories were the most popular followed by the Blotter and ASUAF Briefs. General News and Arts and Entertainment rounded out the top five categories.

Readers by far wanted to see more event previews, followed by investigative stories.

“The worst is reading about an event I was waiting for and realizing it had already passed. I feel like the Sun Star has a LOT of potential that has yet to be tapped,” one respondent wrote. 

“Be more like a college newspaper, get investigative,” wrote another.

In response to the survey, we are increasing event previews. We are also trying to increase the variety of events and topics we cover to reflect the diversity of interests on campus. We will try our best to cover what matters to you, but sometimes our budget limits what we can do.

In the coming months we will reach out to you to have a conversation about the future of The Sun Star. We have a lot of ideas moving forward to increase the quality and content of The Sun Star, and we hope that you will be a part of it.

The Sun Star will continue to work hard and be a student business that invests in students with leadership experience and job training while providing the UAF community with the news it needs.

The full results of the survey are available in PDF form here.

Heather Bryant

The Sun Star

(907) 474-5078

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