Readers of The Catholic Voice are overwhelmingly satisfied with the newspaper, though they would like to read more columns and opinion, a new survey indicates.
Respondents to The Voice survey also indicated a strong faith, with 90 percent of them attending Mass either daily or once a week. This contrasts sharply with national surveys that show about 22 percent of the U.S.'s 78 million self-identified Catholics attending Mass regularly.
While interesting, the survey wasn't controlled, random and the number of respondents was too small to draw significant conclusions. The survey, offered in the Sept. 9 and 23 issues of The Voice and online until Oct. 10, drew 380 responses. Circulation of The Voice is about 90,000, reaching about half of Oakland diocese households and making it one of the country's largest diocesan newspapers.
Ninety-two percent of respondents read every issue of The Voice. The newspaper is mailed to any registered parish household that requests it and to subscribers 21 times a year; the Annual Diocesan Directory, a special edition of The Voice, is available for pick up at parishes near the beginning of each year.
Despite the rise of the Internet and the challenges faced by the secular newspaper business of declining revenue and readership, respondents to The Voice survey mirrored the results of a 2011 national study that indicates Catholics of all ages are loyal to a print product.
Seventy-seven percent of Voice survey respondents preferred to receive the newspaper in print form. Even among online survey takers, print was preferred by 55 percent.
The national study by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University reported 53 percent of Catholics agree "somewhat" or "strongly" that having a print product is important to them, while, for instance, only 14 percent have visited a parish website. Even among young people nationally, almost 40 percent prefer print over the Web for religious information.
While 89 percent of Voice respondents said they own a computer, only 42 percent use social media (Twitter, Facebook).
Generally, Voice survey respondents are older, white, own their own home and became Catholics as infants. They are educated, with 91 percent having some kind of college education, including 28 percent with master's degrees and 9 percent with doctoral degrees.
Of 36 topics (high school sports, sacraments, immigration), respondents thought The Voice overwhelmingly was doing "about right" in the amount of reporting on the subject.
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