83 GALLERY 600 Contemporary Paintings, Sculpture, Prints THE FINEST TRADITIONAL FRAMING Custom Plexiglass and Custom Welded Frames 600 West 28th at Nueces . . . phone 477-3229 Dear Reader . Austin When the Observer put together a readership survey last winter, its primary purpose was to get statistics about subscribers for possible use in selling advertising. We were fairly confident we could improve our financial condition considerably if we hired a good ad salesman. \(We’ve never had anyone methodically selling advertising. Among his other multitudinous duties, Cliff Olofson, the business manager, tries to get ads pertaining to political or social issues and organizations, books and periodicals. Many of the Observer’s We experimented with a parttime salesman, a congenial fellow, but a high pressure salesman, nonetheless. He was good at his work, but none of us liked to hear him trying to sell the Observer to a potential client. IT WAS CLIFF who felt the most uncomfortable with this commercial innovation. \(Ronnie Dugger, our publisher, is fairly well-known for his scruples, but I’ll match Cliff’s dark nights of the soul to I didn’t think we’d be unduly influenced by an advertising department: there was something more subtle involved, a certain crudeness that crept into our otherwise congenial environment. We didn’t want to plunge the Observer into the conventional commercial inferno, and we didn’t want to sell you, our subscribers, to commercial interests unless it came down to a question of the Observer’s very survival. So the Observer quixotically offed the experimental advertising department after abour four weeks. This means, at least for now, we will continue to operate as we have in the past, making it mainly on subscriptions, with some advertising and the bookstore helping to make ends meet. a replacement. Or send us the names and addresses of persons who might want to subscribe and we’ll send a sample copy in your name. Or if there is an issue you think might be of particular interest to a group you meet with, let us know how many Observers you could use and we’ll send them free, along with a supply of subscription order forms. If you’d like more details on the Observer’s finances, write to Cliff Olofson and he’ll send you a report. TO GET ON to the specifics of the reader survey, the total circulation of the Nov. 19, 1971, issue was 12,044. Seventeen percent of the persons receiving that issue returned the questionnaire and 90 of those were answered by more than one individual. Some 854 surveys were returned in the enclosed postage-paid envelopes, costing us $84.50. But another 1,100 readers used their own stamps and 63 enclosed donations amounting to $140. Included in forty-two surveys were subscription or book orders. So the undertaking turned out to be profitable for us. Your ages: 19 or under 2 percent 20-25 21 percent 26-35 37 percent 36-45 20 percent 46-55 12 percent over 65 2 percent no answer 1 percent A lot of you are pretty well off. Most of the under $5,000’s seem to be students. Annual incomes: under $5,000 18 percent $5,000-6,999 7 percent $7,000-9,999 13 percent $10,000-14,999 24 percent $15,000-19,999 13 percent $20,000 or more 23 percent no answer 3 percent You’re a well-educated bunch. Twentytwo percent are in school now or are attending school on and off; so they haven’t yet reached their highest degree level. Formal education completed: some high school 1/2 percent high school grad 2 percent some college 16 percent college degree 33 percent postgraduate degree 48 percent no answer ‘h percent Only 5 percent of the Observer readers answering the questionnaire belong to a labor union. Eight percent have held elective office; 9 percent have held appointive office; and 29 percent regard themselves as political or social organizers, in either a paid or unpaid capacity. As to occupation, 24 percent of you are teachers; 20 percent are students; 10 percent are attorneys. The rest of you run the gamut from dishwashers to oil producers. Lumping you into various categories, we came up with these figures: Media people \(writers, photographers, reporters, editors, direcClergy, social work ers and counsellors 5 percent General office work ers 3 percent Business “executives” and “administraPeople in politics and government bureau cracies and social science researchers 3 percent May 12, 1972 9 Since 1966, our subscriptions and income have doubled. Income was $84,000 last year, and we needed every bit of it. We did manage to reduce our deficit in 1971 by $3,000. On Jan. 1 of this year, we owed only $1,500 more than we had on hand. A year earlier the figure had been $4,500. This year we figure the Observer will need an income of $96,000 $12,000 more than last year. Right now, it looks like we’ll make that goal. One thing we learned from the survey was that despite Cliff’s enterprising mailings and our 90 news racks around the state, almost 50 percent of our new subscribers were introduced to the Observer by a friend. You are still our best and most reliable sales people. To keep us pure and innocent of crude world of advertising, please keep up the good work. If a friend expresses interest in your Observer, give it to him and we’ll send you
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