And the Survey Says

Man looking at checklist. 3d rendered illustration.

We ran this survey from November 1 until November 30. We had 106 people respond. While this is a nice cross section, it is also worth noting that in that same time period, we had 7,711 unique visitors to the site. Here’s what you had to say about the Holliston Reporter:

Reading Frequency:

  • 70 of the respondents said they read the Reporter on a daily basis
  • 22 respondents said they read the Reporter when they see Facebook updates
  • 10 respondents said they read the Reporter infrequently
  • 4 declined to respond

Most Likely to Read:

Please be aware that I am using the “primary” area where people indicate they are reading. This does not mean they did not select multiple areas.

  • 83 responded they read the Select Board meeting recap
  • 19 responded they read Community Events section
  • 2 responded they read Obituaries
  • 2 responded they read Real Estate Sales

It is worth noting that after the Select Board Meeting, Community Events was the next highest response.

Open Comments:

We had an area for people to fill in general comments and we received several. (this often falls into the category of be careful what you wish for 😊 )Here’s what they were:

  • Calendar of Events
  • happenings around town re:Blair Square events, Holliston Historical Society events, Boy Scout events, Farm events, Fairs and Fireworks
  • Holliston reporter is my connection to the community!
  • Holliston residents “in the news” — School activities, such as concerts and plays — Senior Center happenings — Parks & Rec activities.  I realize most organizations have their own publicity vehicle, but if one is not in that demographic, the news doesn’t reach a potential audience — such as dates of concerts — until after the fact when a review is printed in HollistonReporter.
  • I am an avid reader of the select board meeting recap. I am very fortunate that the reporter covers these as there is no other avenue to get recaps. Unfortunately, I’ve had a hard time following the discussion because. The recaps seem rushed and reported in a ‘note-taking’ style. Please focus on quality over speed so that residents can have a good understanding of the context of events, not just the word for word from the meeting.
  • I can find out the interesting and new events that are happening in town .  I like reading about the people who are involved in organizing and working together on community happenings.
  • “I find the new format for Real estate sells less neat, but it should be simpler to do and that is okay.
  • The select meeting report I miss the picture and reading more of what was said. I do not go to the recordings currently. And above in the survey Community is spelled wrong.”
  • I live away in retirement but enjoy reading about friends and what is happening generally.
  • I read almost all of the general interest articles
  • I wouldn’t know about things going on in Holliston without Holliston Reporter. Whenever I’m wondering when an event is or what happened with the Select Board I know I can find out on Holliston Reporter.
  • “Interesting articles written by people on their topics of interest.
  • Just want to say Doreen that I think you are doing a terrific job revitalizing the Reporter. I already see a positive change. Thank you for taking over this herculean adventure!!!!!”
  • Local stories
  • Meetings of the town boards.  Happenings around town.
  • One-time events such as recently:  a walk in the CENTRAL BURYING GROUND sponsored by the Historical Society
  • Quality of reporting of SB meetings has declined since change of ownership. Now reads like a random set of notes without context.
  • Select Board is vital coverage.. will appreciate any coverage of other committees when there are pertinent issues
  • Select board meetings; community events/announcements; fire/pd reports
  • “Senior softball league write ups in Spring (by Ken). Many guys in the league (130+) and some of their friends and family read these and enjoy the humorous tone. P.S. I would say I check HR 3 times per week but not daily. That wasn’t an option/choice”
  • Sports – Wish there were more updates on local sports.  Love what Ken does for the Senior Softball league.  Would love to see more on our high school teams or even other local teams (Mudville baseball, Senior basketball, etc).
  • We are interested in everything that goes on as we have lived here since 1958 & both been active in town.
  • Years ago police blotter with details was helpful.  The current, “calls” is not informative.

What type of content would you like to see?

This also fell into the category of being careful what you ask for <smiling>. However, to move forward, we have to get feedback from the people who are reading the Reporter so this is what you had to say:

  • Actual news. Digests from various town departments are fine. What is lacking are stories about some of the headlines in the digests…
  • Anything pertaining to Holliston
  • articles of local interest like hiking in our conservation/recreation areas, boy scout Eagle Scout projects, updates on improvements to our rail-trail, Holliston’s interaction with other metrowest  communities on civic projects: for example, the Upper Charles Rail Trail was supposed to be a 26 mile loop through Milford, Holliston, Sherborn, Ashland, Hopkinton, and back to Milford.  Why has that stalled after so much regional State funding having been allocated?  What do the town trail committes in the other towns have to say?
  • Business updates
  • Coverage of school events
  • Cultural events
  • Cultural events and senior events
  • “Dedicated monthly column from the various orgs in town.  For example, how an event in the schools may affect citizens who do not have children in schools.
  • Articles from the present State Rep whose name I needed to research as never read any submitted articles from his office. Carolyn Dykema ‘s office was always forthcoming with news articles of updates concerning Holliston
  • Personally, I tend to be a private person and CHOOSE NOT TO open or follow a FB account. A centralized site for info would be beneficial…I do not or have the time to read individual sites for orgs articles.”
  • “Definitely local happenings. Can schools, nonprofits submit calendar schedules or fundraising events on a calendar? Maybe a school section in menus?
  • Thank you for providing the survey! Best of luck”
  • Detailed police blotter
  • Events calendars for the town. Especially from the Parks and Rec Department and the Senior Center.
  • Get rid of all of the press releases that aren’t submitted by people on Holliston
  • Highlighting Holliston Businesses and pieces on Holliston people who make a difference in town from Holliston volunteer workers in all areas to teachers to local professionals
  • Holliston specific content, if it’s not about something going on in our town I can get the news somewhere else.
  • human interest, conservation committee, senior center, historical society, real estate development projects, police reporter
  • I would enjoy reading news or opinion pieces about current events around town. The 555 Hopping Brook development, the Woodland Street bridge, etc.
  • I would like to see more School Committee information and meeting summaries, if possible. I would also like to continue to see local political information and opinion pieces.
  • Last year, a Holliston High School student wrote frank articles covering events both good and bad at the school.  This connected the community with the school.  I’d like to see this continued.
  • less of Holliston information like something at state level
  • Library news, classes offered, more advanced notice about activities around town instead of after the fact reporting, volunteer opportunities.
  • Like the articles about and from the school systems, by the students. Notices about upcoming shows in town are helpful.
  • Local achievement of residents
  • Local sports page.
  • “Maybe items about the schools and/or the school committee meetings and state and local politics but not national”
  • Maybe some more meet the Town Committee or Town staff type articles. Who they are and what they do. I think some people have no idea what some of the Committees and folks do. Could improve engagement with those Committees or interest in serving
  • More “news” about incidents in town.  Police / Fire activity.
  • more and different board meetings
  • More committee meeting action. Any opinion article
  • More coverage on events and issues in town, not just advance notice press releases. Emphasis on local.
  • More event info
  • More High School sports updates.
  • More on local sports teams.
  • More reports on more town boards and committees. Select board reports that are clear, concise, and well-edited. These took a nosedive when leadership transitioned, though they are improving again. Dislike the practice of referring readers only to the recording; I’m reading this so I don’t have to slog through a recording. More on local and regional politics, which is where the Reporter can provide coverage no one else is doing. No need to do state and national politics; plenty of sources for that.
  • more stories
  • police and fire logs and incidents
  • Police log
  • Police log
  • Print edition is the only way to go.  You are kidding yourself otherwise.  It takes money and a commitment
  • “Profiles of residents
  • This day in history type of feature
  • Same as you have had.
  • Same as you publish now
  • Stories from Holliston’s past
  • There is a EMS/Fire log, if we could get a weekly police log that would be great!!
  • town happenings
  • What is going on in committee meetings

We asked people if they would read the Reporter if we published daily. Overwhelmingly the response was yes – 25 people said no, and the remaining 81 said yes.

Of the people who responded, 68 do not follow the Reporter on Facebook meaning only 38 of the people who responded do follow us on Facebook. Interestingly enough, the Facebook page has more than 2,500 followers.

We then went on to ask how people felt about more advertising. If we can secure more advertisers, we may be able to offer a small stipend for writers which would mean more content. The responses were overwhelmingly in favor. 83 people said they would favor additional advertising, 17 opposed additional advertising, and 6 declined to respond.

When asked about possibly adding more political pieces, the responses were decisive. Only 21 people were ok with additional political pieces while the remaining 85 said no.

Of the 106 people who responded, 27 did not want to see any opinion pieces while the remaining 79 were all in favor of opinion pieces.

Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll address some of the comments and suggestions here and perhaps in the Spring, we’ll run another survey. Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond!

Doreen Martel

1 Comment

  1. Sue Schnapp on December 3, 2023 at 1:54 pm

    Doreen -I think you are doing a great job! Appreciate the Selectman’s meetings report. I would like to see a more detailed police report.

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