Art Hoppe, the late star columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, wrote decades of satire renowned by readers of that venerable paper for its wit and spot-on insight.

Unfortunately, Hoppe’s talents did not extend to the area of customer service.

Answering calls from angry readers unhappy about something he’d written – mostly women – he would often famously conclude the conversations by bellowing: “I’m sorry, madam, if you feel that way, we’re going to have to cancel your subscription!”

These days, it’s hard to imagine anyone on the staff of any paper in the nation striking such a cavalier pose with a customer. At a time when the Internet has dramatically reshaped the media landscape, many newspapers are bleeding circulation. For this reason, papers increasingly reach out to readers to ask and learn about their needs, ideas and opinions, in a bid to stay as usefully relevant as possible during a time of revolutionary change.

In that spirit, I’m extending an invitation to the UCSB community on behalf of the Nexus to tell us what you like and don’t like about the paper and about our Web site, For the next month or so, we’ll be polling attitudes about our journalism and our advertising – as well as asking some questions about you, with our online reader survey.

If the chance to talk back to the editors, stand up for the First Amendment and help redefine college journalism far into the 21st century isn’t enough to hook you, then there’s another key reason for you to give us 10 or 15 minutes of your time:


Everyone who completes the survey will be eligible for a drawing with some great prizes from our sponsors, including:

A $500 gift certificate from Isla Vista Bookstore.

A gift package for two from Circle Bar B Guest Ranch resort, including horseback riding, dinner and live theatre.

A $100 certificate for free food from Gaucho Deli & Café.

There are two stages of the survey.

First, over the next few days, a randomly selected cross section of several thousand UCSB students will receive an e-mail from our friends at the Social Science Survey Center, who designed and will administer the study. Please participate if you get an e-mail invitation. We assure you, not only will the results be reported in the aggregate – not for individuals – but we also won’t sell your data to anyone.

Then, on Feb. 21, we’ll open the survey to everyone. At that time, you’ll be able to take the survey (and have a chance to win prizes!) by clicking on the icon at

Unlike many paid subscription newspapers, the Daily Nexus is well positioned to adapt and thrive amid the rapidly changing conditions of the New Information Age.

Your participation in the readership survey will help ensure we do, both by giving the newsroom a clearer idea of what you care about journalistically in your paper – and by helping our business folks inform our advertisers about our audience.

Thank you in advance for your help – and thanks for reading.

Did I mention there are prizes?