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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Our Thanks To Survey Respondents

When you publish a newspaper that is largely distributed free of charge, it can be difficult to judge how well or badly you serve. Criticism and praise tends to be anecdotal, it is not handily reflected by daily fluctuations in circulation numbers.

So we would like to offer a great word of thanks to those 1,248 readers who took the trouble to fill out our independently conducted readers' survey earlier this year and send it in, telling us what in our coverage they like and what they don't. It was a far larger response than newspapers can normally expect from such a low-pressure survey.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the survey for us, was to find out exactly who our readers are.

On average, it seems, Moscow Times readers have lived in Moscow for more than two years, are aged somewhere between 25 and 44, would be considered well-paid, and describe themselves as managers or executives. Around 90 percent of readers have university education or higher, while the most popular job description was trade/business.

The same average reader is most likely to be either Russian, American or British, in that order, although the survey's respondents shared an impressive 60 different nationalities ranging from Japanese to Tanzanian. The makes of cars readers drive are almost as wide-ranging, but topping the list are the old Russian and expatriate stalwarts, the Zhiguli and the Volvo.

With such a cosmopolitan readership, it was understandable that the section of the paper that fared least well in the popularity stakes was Sports. But the reasons given were telling -- some, for example, asked for less American sports coverage, others for more baseball. That makes it difficult for us to know how to change the coverage to keep everybody satisfied and still have room in the paper for news.

It was a relief, however, to find the overwhelming view was that we are, on the whole, getting it right, both in terms of the balance and content of coverage.

Still more gratifying was a clear statement that the role The Moscow Times plays in bringing news and cultural features to Muscovites and the expatriate population here is valued. Fifty percent of respondents said The Moscow Times was their primary source of news, followed by television news (15 percent); CNN (6 percent); radio (4 percent); and thereafter other domestic and foreign newspapers in rapidly dwindling numbers.

Having said all this, we have taken many of the suggestions and criticisms readers offered to heart, and would encourage readers to write to us with their comments at any time -- even without a survey form to fill out.