From January 18 to April 16, The Baltic Times conducted a survey to find out who our readers are, what they think of the paper, which sections they found most useful and how they suggest improving the content. Enticed by the prospect of winning a free weekend hotel stay in one of the Baltic capitals, a good number of readers responded. Most of them (79 percent), filled in our online questionnaire. The rest either mailed in or faxed their answers. Here's what they told us:
Who are The Baltic Times' readers?
Most respondents were economically active, 25 - 55 years old, with an annual income of 30,000 - 50,000 euros. Those who wrote in were from the U.K. (16 percent), U.S.A., Latvia and Estonia (12 percent), Germany and Sweden (8 percent), Lithuania and Denmark (6 percent). We also received responses from such far away countries as China and Australia.
They were representatives of various business sectors, financiers, journalists, diplomats, engineers, retired people and academics (tutors, lecturers, students).
What do they think of the layout and general presentation?
The majority, 63 percent, found the front page "attractive," 9 percent classified it as "dynamic," while 28 percent thought that it was "old-fashioned."
Similarly, 79 percent of respondents found the general layout to be "easy to read," while the remainder replied that it was either "not comprehensive" or "lacking in information."
Which sections do they like best?
An overwhelming majority of those who took part, 73 percent, named the news section (front page, individual country news pages and briefs) as their favorite. However they had several suggestions for improvement. Many said they would like to see the section expanded, with more analysis included. A few others called for better coverage of events outside the capitals, and more information on political events in neighboring countries.
"I would also appreciate a recap of the main editorials from the local papers (Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian), " said one respondent from Finland.
Other sections, such as Business, Out & About and Outlook, scored 5 to 7 percent each. There were a number of opinions on how to improve these sections as well.
For the Business pages, more follow-up and analysis was suggested, along with more interviews with local CEOs. Out & About was praised, but better coverage of upcoming events and festivals was called for.
What else would make The Baltic Times better?
A number of respondents said they would like us to beef up our news and business coverage of Lithuania, and several specifically asked for travel features about weekend getaways.
A common complaint was that the newspaper is hard to find, and doesn't show up on enough newsstands. Readers also expressed the opinion that the website should be updated more often.
Other individual suggestions included having a woman's opinion on the film reviews page, getting rid of detailed entertainment listings in favor of more information on individual events, and offering free trial subscriptions for one or two months.
And the winner is...
To thank those that participated in our survey, The Baltic Times entered their names in a drawing in which 3 prizes - free weekend stays in the fabulous hotels in the Baltic capitals were given away. The drawing was held on April 16, and results are the following:
The weekend in the Hotel Bergs in Riga goes to: Felix Karthaus from the United Kingdom
The weekend in the Hotel Susi in Tallinn goes to:
John Hazlett from Canada
The weekend in the Novotel hotel in Vilnius goes to: Peter Sundel from Sweden
The Baltic Times would like to thank all of those who took part in our Reader Survey. Your input is valuable to us, and will help us make a better paper. As a special reward, all of those who contributed will receive a free, 3-month subscription to the online version of The Baltic Times.
Thank you all for your valuable help!