• Nikki Mantell

Readers’ survey a goldmine

We are feeling pretty chuffed, here at the Low Down. It took us a little time (Bill 21 and Ms. Fatemeh, Christmas break, and the convoy coverage has kept us busy!), but we wanted to thoroughly savour all the great feedback our readers gave us in the readers' survey conducted this past autumn. And boy, did you folks give us a lot of great feedback.


More than 450 of you spent your time answering our questions about what you like, and don’t like, about your local paper. That is an impressive number. We had the help of a professional consulting firm to conduct this survey (as part of a bigger-picture strategy to help with long-term sustainability of the Low Down, but more about that in a later article, we promise) and they were hoping for about a hundred responses. The sheer number of completed surveys is proof we have a very engaged and interested readership that genuinely cares about its local paper.


We don’t take this relationship for granted. Often, surveys are conducted and participants never hear anything more about the subject. Please see our story Page 8 where we share the details about what readers think about the Low Down. You told us that the top three topics you want to see more coverage of are: details from council meetings, community events and local environmental issues. We hear you, readers.


We will keep working on the first two, but in this edition, you will see that we have already taken action on your request to cover more green issues in the Gatineau Hills with the launch of a new monthly section called The Low Down Environment Report. We know that a monthly column is still insufficient to address the most important challenges facing the whole planet, but it is a dedicated space to address some pressing local issues on a regular basis. Please take the time to read Trevor Greenway’s feature on the lack of electric vehicle chargers in the Gatineau Hills. It’s a good read and includes some promising news.


We aim to do more of this type of reporting in every edition, not just monthly, but we need help. We know readers who are looking for national stories about global climate change will seek them out from national media. But here at the Low Down we are keeping it local. No one else is reporting on the blue-green algae problem in Lac Gauvreau; that’s our job. We want your suggestions that will point us towards the most important local environmental issues here in the Hills. Please send your questions and ideas to editor@lowdownonline.com and we’ll do our best to follow up with the answers.


There is so much gold for us to mine in our readers' survey, and we’ll be working on putting more of your suggestions into action. Knowing that our readers care about the Low Down, and understand the importance of a local paper, especially when local journalism is facing so many threats to its very survival, gives the entire team a huge burst of energy and excitement for all that lies ahead. Thank you, from all of us.