Survey Examines Reader Interests

Readers of WaterWorld enjoy technical articles, especially Case Studies, are highly interested in both drinking water & wastewater treatment, and more than 99% feel that articles in the magazine provide useful information.

Readers of WaterWorld enjoy technical articles, especially Case Studies, are highly interested in both drinking water & wastewater treatment, and more than 99% feel that articles in the magazine provide useful information. Those are just some of the results from a recent survey conducted by the staff at WaterWorld.

The survey was designed to give us an idea what our readers thought of the magazine, and to help us with planning coverage for next year. It was e-mailed to subscribers who were asked to complete the survey online. Just over 1260 people completed the survey.

Each year WaterWorld staff assemble an “Editorial Calendar” that lists topics we plan to cover in the year ahead. The calendar is sent to potential advertisers, who often base their advertising decisions for a given issue on the topics listed.

We are in the process of building the 2007 calendar now - and I’ve never owned a crystal ball - so we can’t really predict what the hot topics in the industry will be in, say, August 2007. Given that WaterWorld is not a news magazine, we try to plan for topics that are typically broad and of general interest to people working in the municipal drinking water & wastewater industry.

Clearly tech articles and case studies are the magazine’s big draw -- no surprise - but it was interesting to learn that the Product Focus feature was also well received.

When asked what topics they found most interesting and useful, just over 64% selected wastewater treatment - the topic with the greatest response. Drinking water treatment came in a close second, with 60%. Other topics garnering a good response included filtration, disinfection, pumps and energy efficiency.

When asked about topics they would like to see covered in a new feature column, readers responded with a wide range of possibilities. Water recycle & reuse was perhaps the most often mentioned. Other possible column topics included desalination, innovative new technologies, operator certification & training, treatment plant trouble-shooting and a column focused on interesting technologies from Europe and around the world.

One interesting suggestion was a Case Study column on projects or systems that Failed to live up to expectations. While such articles might provide useful reading, it’s doubtful we could find enough utilities willing to share information about their failures.

In looking through the comments we received, I would say most of those who responded were technically oriented, hands-on people who want to read about successful projects and technologies being used by their peers. They are interested in new technologies, and want basic, useful information that will help them do their jobs.

That’s good, because that’s been my goal as editor of WaterWorld since I started this job nearly 12 years ago. And for the 0.6% of you who felt articles in WaterWorld were not useful, I hope I can bring you around next year!

By the way, those who completed the survey were entered into a contest to win an iPod Shuffle. The winner was Alex Campbell, owner of Judan Enterprises, an environmental consulting firm which specializes in on-site sewage treatment and disposal.

James Laughlin, Editor

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