From the Publisher

Talk to me!

by Chris Klein
ello, and Welcome.
Things finally are calming down as we complete our second issue of Earth Times. I want to talk to you about our stories - where we get them and how we select them - and ask for your advice.
The Earth Times will be reprinting important articles from local and national publications (with permission, of course). We depend heavily on Carolyn Chase, San Diego Earth Day founder and environmentalist extraordinaire, to provide guidance on what's available. She consumes an fantastic amount of environmental literature each month - a stack of paper about two feet high. We'll try and pass along the prime cuts.
We also commission articles, especially for local stories. Our cover story in this issue is a good example. We're always looking for great ideas.
We may also publish unsolicited material that comes in. I've started receiving a flood of that; nothing has yet made the cut, though.

ow do we select which articles to publish? For the first issue, Carolyn and I picked 'em.
This left out just one important thing: the customer - you, dear reader. What you wanted to read was just a guess, and is crucially important to our success. I don't like guesswork.

fter the first issue went out, I sent a survey to 300 readers who received ET in the mail. I asked them how much they read, what they liked, and what they wanted to see more of. Finally, I asked people what additional articles or subjects they would like to see.
Fifteen percent of the people responded - pretty good for this kind of survey. I learned some things about the first issue.
About one-third of the articles were almost universally popular; plastics recycling was at the top of the list. We'll do more articles like that. Another third had mixed reviews. We'll do more of these, too; you can't please all of the people all of the time.
The final third ... well, I'll just be generous and say that every article had someone that really liked it. We'll also take a long hard look at what didn't work for most of you.
Probably the most important feedback I received was from the comments you wrote. Twenty percent of respondents took the time to write, in one way or another, that they wanted articles about things they could do, personally, to help the environment. I guess I'm not surprised.

our input has already started affecting ET. First, we killed a media interview that I already had "in the can"; few of you liked the previous one. Second, we've added a standard sidebar, "Call to action ... what you can do," to many of the articles. We'll try to provide ways you can get involved and make a difference. We're also looking at more of the "tips and hints" material many of you say you want.
We'll continue the surveys. But for the 99 percent of you who never receive a survey - please talk to us! Read something you liked? Read something you didn't' like? Have a great idea for a new story? Read an article somewhere that's just too good to keep a secret?
Let us know. We're listening, and it can make a difference. I'm committed to making the Earth Times the kind of publication you always wished for.
One final request: Please let our advertisers know you saw their ad in ET. It takes a certain kind of courage to go with a new publication, and getting dedicated advertisers is a tough job. Your acknowledgment will mean a lot to them, and to us . We need your support for our success .Thanks for your time.