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The current debate about content and contributors and indeed of New Matilda itself is illuminating and we want it to continue. Please keep the comments coming!

From regular NewMatilda columnist Andrew West

I was wondering if there is any research on the reading tastes, as opposed to the reader profile, for NM readers and subscribers.

As much as I hate journalism that is guided by this stuff, I realise we are a dot com not a dot org and, therefore, need to make some money, and I would like to write some columns that answer these reading tastes a bit more. I’m just a bit concerned that last week’s column – and one on Israel a few weeks before – got very little feedback and I fear I may have chosen subjects of limited interest.

The ones that have provoked a fair bit of feedback have tended to attract comments from men and I would like to write a few things with a bit more appeal to women readers.

Of course, I won’t make this the driving motive but I think it’s something I should consider.

From New Matilda Commissioning Editor Hilary McPhee

The reader responses are of huge interest to me and I puzzle about them all the time.

There is no research that I know of – in fact I think by just discussing it we are doing more than most. Maybe there’s o/s data but maybe not.

Why readers respond to a particular article and why they don’t seems to me to have something to do with whether the argument is ‘open’ or ‘closed’, whether its erudition is showing, whether it’s anecdotal, whether it signals ‘expert’, whether it’s ‘personal’ and taking a few risks, whether it’s illustrating its polemic with vivid imagery etc etc.

Women subscribers are responding quite differently to men too as you’ve noticed.

But it’s also probably got to do with an article’s length, long weekends, information overload, sometimes having a dominating commentator who seems to shut everyone up. The tendency is always there with interactive websites like NewMatilda for a few people to treat them as personal blogs.

We’d welcome feedback on why some articles trigger responses and others don’t. And about how we could we ask the right questions of subscribers about content generally?

New Matilda is independent journalism at its finest. The site has been publishing intelligent coverage of Australian and international politics, media and culture since 2004.