Street Roots’ recent readers survey asked Portlanders to chime in on important issues related to the organization. It was by no means scientific, but it does give us a snapshot of the people who support vendors and read the newspaper. Here is what we found out.
The vast majority of SR readers are college educated, and female. People of all ages support SR, but readers 21-35 have increased dramatically in the past two years since we last did a survey. Sixty-three percent of readers found out about the newspaper through an interaction with a vendor, while another 25 percent found out through a friend or word of mouth. That means by helping spread the word and introducing SR to your peer network, you can make a big difference.
More than 70 percent of those surveyed thought that SR was a window into their community, politically relevant and a strong advocate for people experiencing homelessness.
In-depth news coverage was by far the most popular aspect of the newspaper followed closely by the SR editorial and opinion pieces from a wide range of community members and organizations.
Nearly 80 percent of readers said that if SR went weekly they would purchase the newspaper every week from vendors.
On the vendor side of things readers showed lots of love. When asked if vendors conduct themselves professionally in the community — more than 90 percent of people said yes. One person wrote, “Yes, vendors are very professional. Vendors are polite, friendly and make good small talk, while saying nice things like, ‘Thank you’ and ‘Have a good day,’ after buying a paper.” Another reader wrote, “Yes, and if there is an issue, Street Roots is quick to address it.” Big kudos and love to the vendors selling the newspaper week-in and week-out.
Sixty-one percent of readers say they do not seek out a specific vendor, while another 26 percent said they do.
Seventy-nine percent of the community told us they are familiar with our advocacy work, with 74 percent of people saying that we make a positive difference through our policy advocacy and muckraking journalism. When asked what difference readers witnessed SR making in the community responses ranged from working with the business community, to “not being afraid to say or do the unpopular thing, regardless of outside agendas,” to putting a working face on people who are homeless. One reader wrote, “Street Roots provides a clear, unapologetic voice for social justice in our community.”
We thank all of you who took part in the survey, and look forward to the on-going support Street Roots is providing both for those experiencing homelessness, and for the broader community. It’s a team thing, and we couldn’t do it without you.
Last, but not least, check out the back page of this edition, and save the dates for both the on-line auction starting Oct. 27, and a Best of SR photography show on Nov. 3. It’s going to be a party!
by Israel Bayer