• REASON READER SURVEY: Last August, we mailed questionnaires to a ten percent random sample of our 12,000 subscribers (we're now over 14,000). 501 valid responses were received (a 42% return). Based on the survey, we learned the following: REASON subscribers are 87% male and their mean age is 38 years. 57% are married, and 72% have no children, with 59% owning their own home and 67% having incomes of $15,000 or more. 69% have college degrees, 91% buy hardback books (average of 16 each year) and 96% buy paperback books (average of 27 per year). 94% took trips last year, with 36% reporting foreign travel. Over 66% identified their political orientation as libertarian. 34% are registered as Republicans, 20% as Libertarian Party, and 35% are not registered in any political party.
Over 65% have been reading REASON for more than one year, and 40% of them for over 2 years. 69% of subscribers report that their copy of REASON is read by one or more people (besides themselves) and over 39% read each issue of REASON cover to cover, regardless of the time required.
We asked readers to rate each REASON feature during the past year on a scale of 1 ("very poor") to 9 ("excellent"). Highest rated features were main articles (7.5) and interviews (7.5), Editorials (7.4), Trends (7.3), and Viewpoint (7.2). Next came Money (6.6) and Publisher's Notes (6.6), Book Reviews (6.5), Letters (6.4), Frontlines (6.4), Foreign Correspondents (6.3), Rudebarbs (6.2), Reason Profile (6.1), and Movies (5.9). Lowest rated features were Science Fiction (5.6), Classifieds (5.5) and Poetry (5.5).
We were pleased at the many favorable comments included on the questionnaires. A sampling: "All in all I would say REASON is a fine publication and I never miss an opportunity to try and sell a subscription to a friend. REASON should be read by everyone!" "It is one of the high points of my month when REASON arrives in the mail." "You will have a subscription from me as long as you choose to remain in business." "You're doing a tremendous job. Keep it up!" "The money I spend for REASON is without doubt the best investment in periodicals I make." "Still, by far, the best libertarian journal of our time." "My only request is that the very high standards of quality and integrity be maintained. I have enjoyed every issue and hope to continue doing so." "On the whole, I think your magazine is fantastic—excellent format and fair presentation of all facets of libertarianism." "Yours is my favorite magazine. It deserves its name." "I enjoy your magazine immensely." "I love you!"
We specifically asked readers what they'd like to see REASON add or delete, or other ways in which the magazine could be improved. In response, no one comment was mentioned by more than 4% of subscribers. Items which some readers would like more of include philosophical articles and articles on basic principles, more Trends and current events, more on psychological aspects of freedom and psychology in general. Readers also mentioned they'd like to see more practical, "how-to" information on making changes. Items mentioned which some readers would like to see deleted or curtailed include poetry and science fiction. Some readers asked for stronger libertarian interpretation of movie reviews, or for better reviews generally. Other comments included some complaints about the length of articles or quality of writing, and the smallness of the typeface.
REASON's editors have analyzed the responses and we are in the process of taking steps to further strengthen the quality of REASON. Since our survey, we have introduced the Spotlight column, to replace Profile. In coming months, we intend to introduce a new layout, and we are planning to replace poetry with increased use of Lucifer's Lexicon (Lou Rollins' devilish definitions) and choice quotations.
We are extremely grateful for the excellent response to our questionnaire and for the many nice comments. One of the best ways that readers can help REASON's voice be heard is to have their business associates or friends become subscribers. We're proud to have such loyal subscribers as we do, and we'd like your help in making REASON grow.
• MIGRANT LABOR: The Illinois Migrant's Council has the goal of getting migrant workers out of agriculture and into permanent jobs in industry. A major part of its more than $1 million budget, which comes primarily from the federal government, goes to adult education classes and job placement. A Council counselor, Jose Sosa, who deals with Spanish-speaking migrants of Mexican heritage, stated in the Chicago Sun-Times that "I have to tell them that there is no future in the fields for them or their children." Instead, the Council offers migrants the hope of regular jobs as machinists or drill-press operators at $4 an hour, 40 hours a week. Most of the migrant workers the Council deals with have permanent homes in the Southwest, and many are not attracted by the idea of a steady job in a big city. Some say they like the freedom of moving on the road and working when they need money. According to Sosa, "They think they are making money in the fields and even think they have a good life. Sometimes we have to make them aware of the conditions they live in."
We naturally don't approve of this baleful use of our tax dollars, but we can't help wondering what kind of success the Council might have if it tried its hand at relocating politicians into another field.