Graphic by Dawn Jasper
Graphic by Dawn Jasper

Inside Fordham, the University’s biweekly newsletter, is read widely by faculty and staff members, who are largely pleased with its contents, according to the results of a preliminary survey administered this past spring.

Most of the respondents indicated that they read at least some sections of Inside Fordham every time it arrives. Three quarters said they prefer to read the eight-page, printed version of the newsletter over its online counterpart.

News about faculty research and University growth was deemed to be most interesting. Respondents also showed interest in coverage of fundraising, guest speakers and staff members.

Roughly 75 percent said thatInside Fordham’s biweekly publication schedule during the academic year is appropriate, and 80 percent indicated that the newsletter staff did an adequate or good job of reporting fresh information pertaining to Fordham faculty and staff.

“This is encouraging news,” said Kate Spencer, assistant vice president for University marketing and communications. “It’s clear that the readers we reached liked what we do, and found the news useful. We’re looking forward to doing a more in-depth survey in the coming academic year.”

The survey was designed by members of Fordham’s Office of Marketing and Communications to determine who is reading Inside Fordham, how often, and what they think about its content and distribution. It is the publication’s first readership survey.

On April 27, faculty and staff members received a Web link to an online version of the survey through the University’s Lotus Notes e-mail system. There are more than 1,300 full-time faculty, administrators and staff members at Fordham, according to the Department of Human Resources. Online surveys were submitted by 124 people.

Likes and Dislikes
Survey-takers were asked to check the attitude that best described their thoughts, feelings and opinions about specific sections of Inside Fordham, using the following scale:
5 = exceptionally interesting;
4 = very interesting;
3 = moderately interesting;
2 = slightly interesting;
1 = not interesting at all.

Some of the highlights are as follows:

• 65 percent found stories about University growth to be very or
exceptionally interesting (mean score = 3.7)

• 45 percent found faculty research profiles to be very
interesting (mean score = 3.7)

• 50 percent felt “At Work,” the staff Q&A, to be moderately
interesting (mean score = 3.1)

• 40 percent felt news about guest speakers to be very interesting
(mean score = 3.0)

• 75 percent found fundraising stories to be moderately or
very interesting (mean score = 2.9)

• 40 percent found sports news to be moderately interesting;
15 percent said it was slightly interesting; and 25 percent said it was
not interesting at all (mean score = 2.5)

Reader Habits
Inside Fordham is read consistently, according to the survey results. Fifty-eight percent of those who responded said they read Inside Fordham every time it arrives. Twenty-eight percent said they read it occasionally and 14 percent said they rarely read it.

While 75 percent said they preferred to read the publication in print, based on open-ended comments solicited with the survey, some people suggested that a link to the online version be sent to the University community. As such, a link to Inside Fordham Online will be included in the Today at Fordham Spotlight e-mail blast beginning this fall.

More than half of those surveyed said they read between two and four stories in each issue. Twenty-five percent said they read at least five stories. Twenty percent said they read one or less.

Seventy-four percent of those who responded felt the amount of photography in Inside Fordham was appropriate. Twenty-six percent said the publication would be better with more photos.

Forty-five percent of those surveyed indicated that Inside Fordham does an adequate job of reporting fresh information pertaining to Fordham faculty and staff. Thirty-five percent said the staff of Inside Fordham did this job well.

The News and Media Relations staff will conduct a larger survey in fall 2009 based primarily on random, in-person interviews.


Gina Vergel is Senior Director of Communications. She oversees the digital news coverage, public relations, and social media for the university. Before joining Fordham in 2007, Gina worked as a reporter for the Home News Tribune, and The Ridgewood News, where she won Society of Professional Journalist (New Jersey chapter) awards for breaking news and feature writing, respectively. She can be reached at [email protected] or (646) 579-9957.