SAM Readership Survey

To better understand the views and experiences of alumni and friends regarding the Sydney Alumni Magazine (SAM), the Alumni and Events Office of the University of Sydney, conducted a Readership Survey in 2011.

A total of 5,220 completed surveys were obtained, comprising a response rate of 8 per cent. The survey was delivered to SAM readers via an insert in the magazine and by email with a link to the survey on-line. Readers had the choice of completing the paper version of the survey or an on-line option.

Reactions to the content in SAM were very positive with 90 per cent of respondents noting their overall impression of the magazine was good. The survey results indicate readership behaviours and opinions in areas such as quality of content and design as well as preferred mode and frequency of receiving SAM. Insights gleaned from the survey provide an invaluable perspective into SAM’s ability to cater to the needs of our University community and will help guide future style and content decisions, according to Tracey Beck, Director of the Alumni and Events Office.

“These results provide us with a great opportunity to consolidate the good work of SAM, to develop a new strategic framework designed to cater to audience needs more fully, and meet key institutional goals”.

Among the highlights revealed by the survey:

  • The vast majority (87 per cent) indicated SAM made them feel more connected to the University, with 35 per cent saying the magazine made them feel a lot more connected
  • The aspects of SAM that respondents expressed the most interest in were feature stories (90 per cent) and the cover story (88 per cent)
  • 83 per cent of respondents agree SAM provides a good mix of in-depth stories and light reading, with 77 per cent agreeing that SAM is relevant and keeps them in touch. Only 10 per cent of respondents agree that SAM doesn’t interest them very much
  • The most common amount of time spent reading SAM was 30-60 minutes (41 per cent)
  • 50 per cent stated that one other person reads their copy of SAM
  • 53 per cent of SAM Online respondents indicated they visit the website and look at some content. The most common method of reading SAM Online was going to the SAM website and looking at the content that interests them

Based on these results the Alumni and Events Office will continue to maintain three yearly editions of SAM. It is clear that alumni prefer to make a choice between hard copy and electronic SAM versions, and that both options need to be offered. Survey findings will be utilised to develop a new framework for SAM which we hope will continue to provide stimulating intellectual content and engage readers’ interest.