Why QP Is Focused on Standards

One of the roles of an editor is to be a kind of information broker--matching up what readers say they want to read with articles that writers are able to put together.

At Quality Progress this role is shaped in an important way by the extensive amount of reader research that is conducted. Every month, we ask a random sample of readers to grade that issue of the magazine, almost page by page. We ask for comments about the content, cover, and advertising as well as assessments of the magazine's relevance, timeliness, usefulness, and accuracy, among other characteristics.

We also specifically ask for suggestions on how we can improve our mix of stories. The question on the survey form is: "What could the editors of Quality Progress do differently or better to most improve its value to you?"

This is where it gets interesting.

What do readers want? By a large measure, the topic that is cited the most often is standards. And yet a large proportion of the magazine's content is, you guessed it, standards. A review of the 1998 index, for example, shows that fully a third of the articles last year were standards-related, although many of these were shorter news items.

As editor, I'm inclined to draw one of two conclusions. Either readers have an insatiable appetite for articles about standards, or they are looking for a different kind of approach in covering this topic.

In either case, this month's issue should help clarify whether we are on the right track or should be heading in a different direction. It contains an extensive array of articles examining the future of standards from a variety of perspectives--some positive, some not so positive. To round things out, the Quality Progress staff polled a cross-section of experts on quality and standards. J.M. Juran, Pierre Caillibot, and Dan Reid are among those who responded.

The Quality Progress staff is very interested in hearing readers' reaction to this special issue on the future of standards. We'll get some good feedback from our monthly reader survey, but we'd also like to hear from other readers who have a specific interest in how we cover this topic.

Let us know what you liked about this issue. Also, let us know what you think we can do better. You can e-mail your comments to me at  mmaguire@asq.org or call me at 800-248-1946, extension 7295. The postal address is 611 E. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53202.

We look forward to hearing from you! 

26073PG6 Miles Maguire
MAGUIRE, M. tiff

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