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Report card, report card, what did we get?

I meant to note this before, when we got the news a few weeks back, but I got caught up in other things and well now there’s a convenient column from the publisher summing up the highlights of the report card the J&C received.

Overall? It’s hella good news for any newspaper (and its subsidiaries, which is probably the wrong word) to be growing readership these days. Here’s what he says:

Publishers, editors, online directors and all of our employees receive another report card every few years.

That report card is the results of independent market research on readership of the print Journal & Courier, jconline and reader answers to questions about their satisfaction with our news coverage.

So, I figured losing a few percentage points in print market reach would be a major victory in a time when many newspapers are losing much more ground than that. Maybe, just maybe, we could come close to making up those print losses with our surging Internet site — jconline.

So we were stunned when we got our report card.

Readership of the newspaper each day was up slightly from our last research in 2005. Seven-day readership of our newspaper (the percent of the market reading our paper at least once each week) was up slightly to 75 percent.

On top of that, our reach of the local market though jconline each week had grown to an impressive 31 percent.

I expected growth in this area, but not to that extent. In fact, the market reach of jconline is No. 1 in the entire Gannett Company (owners of the Journal & Courier). Total combined print and online reach had increased to 82 percent each week.

The researchers told us that reader satisfaction with our coverage of local news and other topics is high, well above most newspapers our size.

They also told us that readers’ reaction to the new newspaper was overwhelmingly favorable.

There’s more. Even more than he wrote in the column. But even without anything else, that’s impressive and happy news. As one of my profs noted when I was home this weekend about the fact that they bought a new press: “It’s a good sign that they’re investing money in your paper.”

And as I told another friend when I forwarded her a job opening here. Those numbers don’t just mean we’re doing a good job reaching our audience, which is true apparently. They also mean something else vital: job security. (OK, I know no job is “secure,” but I’d rather be at a paper that’s growing and making progress than, well, anywhere else.)

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