The most recent issue of CIMMYT’s electronic newsletter included a link to a simple (multiple choice) 10-question survey designed by communications intern Laura Yates to assess readers’ opinions of the usefulness, attractiveness, and readability of this online periodical. To date, 50 people have responded. Almost all (98%) are regular e-News readers and most (71%) are not affiliated with the center. Overall impressions were positive: 80% felt the e-News was a good source of CIMMYT information. Likewise, 90% said the language used was appropriate for the audience. Regarding layout and design, half of the respondents said the design was “basic and appropriate,” followed by “appealing” (14 respondents, 29%). Finally, responding to a query on which topics they would like to see covered more frequently, 63% (31 respondents) said they wished to see more “connections between CIMMYT’s work and larger issues (global warming, the food crisis). Close seconds were stories on “variety improvement” and “profiles of scientists/researchers.”
Among several favorable comments was this endorsement from Merideth Bonierbale, senior breeder and the leader of the Crop Improvement and Germplasm Enhancement Division at the International Potato Center (CIP): “The e-News is very attractive in that it provides a small amount of intriguing information in an unobtrusive manner, as well as easy access to further details for those with time or special interest. It is the only mass mailing I read.”
Launched in 2004, the e-News is researched and written by Corporate Communications, with assistance and input from CIMMYT scientists and program directors, and the stories focus on farmers, partners, and important accomplishments. It is circulated bi-monthly to more than 3,000 recipients, including scientists, donor representatives, journalists, and policy makers. The survey will remain online (both in English and Spanish) and can be found under the June e-News link. Further comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.