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Who is the typical regular reader of

Thanks to the 862 people who filled out our anonymous online survey recently (thanks, people), a picture emerges.

Let’s call the reader Chris, because the people who responded were almost equally divided between men and women.  


• is about 49 years old. (To be more precise, 39.2% said they were under 45, while 22% said they were 45-54, and 38.7% said they were over 54.)

• has at least a four-year college degree, maybe more.

• has an income just under $80,000.

•  is a homeowner (most likely in Minneapolis, or possibly St. Paul) with no children living at home.

It’s hard to pin down Chris’ occupation.  Could be anything from a teacher to a public relations executive to a farm manager to a “man about town.”

Chris is strongly engaged in philanthropic activity, giving money, goods and services to charitable organizations, including donating to one or two organizations for the first time last year. And Chris volunteers time about once a month.

When deciding which businesses to patronize, Chris weighs service much higher than price.  Chris also gives extra weight to businesses that are locally owned and/or environmentally friendly — both of those are significantly more important than price, too.

Chris enjoys going out to movies, music events, theater and sports (in that order). But Chris’ most frequent spending on entertainment is on eating out in restaurants.

Chris loves to travel for pleasure:  Twice a year in Minnesota, twice a year elsewhere in the U.S., and once a year outside the country.

So how does our Chris soak up the news?


• reads almost every day. (71% of those surveyed gave this answer; another 19% said once or twice a week.)

• checks out the home page every day and the daily email newsletter often.

•  reads a printed newspaper almost every day (56% said so).

•  visits and at least several times a week.

• listens to Minnesota Public Radio almost every day (but visits its website only once or twice a month).

• visits less than once a month.

• watches broadcast television news twice a week, cable TV news once a week,  public television news once or twice a month, but never gets news from commercial radio or from Twitter.

Chris is “somewhat likely to be an early adopter — someone eager to buy something right away and try it out.”

Chris votes. In fact, 98 percent of respondents to our survey said they vote in most elections.

There you have it: Chris the regular. Informed, educated, successful and actively engaged in the community.

Recognize yourself?  Anything surprise you? Any suggestions for what we should ask the next time?

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Comments (10)

  1. Submitted by Jefferson on 03/23/2009 - 12:26 pm.

    Wow. With the exception of this:
    Chris enjoys going out to movies, music events, theater and sports (in that order). But Chris’ most frequent spending on entertainment is on eating out in restaurants.

    -And MPR listening/news gathering, I am quite far from Chris.

    I’m in rural outstate MN, I make substantially less than Chris, I don’t have an advanced degree, am under 35 and have children at home.

    Broaden that survey, huh? There’s got to be more out there like me.

  2. Submitted by Joel Kramer on 03/23/2009 - 12:48 pm.

    Just to be clear, Jefferson: The profile of Chris is based on the median for each answer. So, almost a quarter of survey respondents said they were under 35; more than 30% have children living at home; and only 40% have an advanced degree. For every question, there was a wide range of answers.

  3. Submitted by Len Lichtblau on 03/23/2009 - 02:22 pm.

    I think the single most important question you can ask is whether a MinnPost reader is willing to pay for the service and if so, how much. Newspapers are becoming bankrupt because they continue to use an antiquated financial model that doesn’t work anymore.

    As the internet expanded, people stopped buying newspapers to get their information. Since advertising dollars are based on eyes encountered, the newspapers chose to get balance, not by investing in something better, but by cutting spending, laying off employees and by offering their content online, for FREE.

    The consequence of these decisions is to reduce what newspapers do exquisitely well, investigative reporting on a local and national level and, at the same time, devaluing whatever they do have by giving it away, which leads to less purchases, which leads to less advertising, which leads to bankruptcy.

    Unless the trend stops, all newspapers in America will die and something new will eventually rise in its place. Perhaps we can call our new news service, The American Phoenix.

    So, who is willing to pay for MinnPost. I know I am and I have.

  4. Submitted by Julie Hood on 03/23/2009 - 04:28 pm.

    some questions you may have missed:

    1. did you ask where Chris lives or works?

    2. was the survey only available to MinnPost contributors? Or, to any & all readers?

    3. did the the survey take into account any issues or questions that might pertain to users outside the Minnesota border?

  5. Submitted by Joey Peters on 03/23/2009 - 04:47 pm.

    Wow. I’m 22 and feel like a damn rascal next to all these other readers. So 25 percent of respondents are under 35. Is there a ballpark figure for readers who are under 25?

    Maybe younger people don’t like to fill out surveys.

  6. Submitted by Joel Kramer on 03/23/2009 - 08:35 pm.


    1. Chris lives in the metro, most likely the Minneapolis side.
    2. Survey was available on the site for any and all readers.
    3. About 6% of respondents lived in Greater Minnesota and another 6% outside the state, and there were no special questions for either group.


    About 5% of respondents said they were under 25. You may be right that younger readers were less likely to take the survey. We do have about 2,000 followers on Twitter, and I’ll bet that group skews younger. But if you’re feeling lonely, please recruit your friends to read MinnPost and bump up your age group’s numbers.

  7. Submitted by Ed Stych on 03/23/2009 - 09:15 pm.

    So, Chris is a stereotypical big-city liberal. Not a surprise considering that so many of MinnPost’s writers lean left, and we humans tend to want to read what we agree with. Despite being a conservative, I read MinnPost every day mostly because I find Brauer interesting. But I’ve been arguing for some time that MinnPost needs to find some right-of-center voices to counter the likes of Brauer and Black if it’s going to grow an audience beyond an online Utne Reader.

    And no surprise that sports is last on the entertainment question. MinnPost appears to have made a conscious decision to do little with sports and focus on the arts. Probably smart, since sports are covered so well in other places, including the Strib (Joe C. and LaVelle do a great job on the Twins, while I find little original in what Gleeman writes). The arts are a bit under-covered by the dailys. But, again, arts coverage attracts the MPR crowd.

  8. Submitted by Melissa Hansen on 03/24/2009 - 09:55 am.

    I think that Ed makes a valid point. As a younger-liberal-artsy-fartsy reader, I know that it is important for me to maintain a perspective on varying points of view. As a frequent online news reader, I find it is nice to read varying points of view presented in articles or professionally written & reviewed editorials rather than just in the comments from fellow readers.

    I also agree with Ed on the minimal sports coverage as “probably smart”. There are so many local outlets for sports news. It might be nice to read about amateur sports or competitions that are not often covered, like fencing or curling. Those appeal to my non-sporty curiosity.

  9. Submitted by Jeff Kline on 03/24/2009 - 01:34 pm.

    All I can say here is when I was in school, I hated stats. With a passion. Good. Someone else can do it. 🙂 Cheers all!

  10. Submitted by Jason Inskeep on 03/24/2009 - 10:24 pm.


    Trying to figure out where to spend my online time finding out what is going on in town. What people are saying, where they are eating, what art is worth going to see, what bands make a difference, what opinions rule the day, what wine tastes best, who slipped up, what they said, where the heat is, when is it going to heat up. You know the drill. Should I spend my time here? If not, then where?

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