The Forum’s Readership– Debunked

Ella Katz Latin is a very well rounded school, and the English curriculum is truly like no other. Whether it be the committed and well educated department, the endless possibilities of course selections, or the freedom to narrow down what type of english you want to study at Latin, every senior that graduates from Latin, goes out into the world with the reading and writing skills of such high quality that are truly seldom paralleled to other institutions. With this given phenomenal writing background, Latin has tons of students who are extremely passionate about writing and with this in mind, the Forum has tons of passionate, dedicated, and overall superior writers. The only problem is, is that it seems to be the case that the Forum somehow has a larger quantity of writers for than that of readers. To confirm my claim, I spoke with Chris Maurice, managing editor of the forum. He released some information to me from his technologically advanced software which tracks all of the nitty gritty statistics for the forum website from how many viewers it has per issue, to how many people have even opened the browser. The largest amount of people that have ever visited Forum for an issue this year is 250 people, in November of 2015. Weather or not this was because of a popular article that attracted readers, or pure coincidence ( I mean, November is a pretty cool month), statistics are statistics. However, in the Forum this year (2016 alone), 500 sessions have happened, meaning that 500 people have opened the Forum webpage and in a span of 10 seconds or less, have closed out of it. The question that comes to mind is, why do people not read the forum? It’s not like people don’t have access to it. As a matter of fact, students, faculty, parents, and even alumni have access to it, now that it’s accessible online (circa 2009). While sitting down with Chris, I wanted to know more about why he thinks hypothetical viewers don’t read the Forum. Chris said that people don’t like being bombarded, having extra boxes on their todo list. When people see the email they see that the subject line that says “The Forum” they automatically click and delete it. He also said that when the Forum comes out, people are busy with homework and extracurriculars (It usually comes out late on a weeknight) and then the next day, they completely forget about it. Chris’ mindset made me even more curious, so I decided to get more perspective from students who do and don’t read the forum. Here is what they said (anonymous of course): “It’s not that I don’t like the forum, it’s just that I don’t have any interest to read it in my free time. Also, I feel like a lot of the stuff that the forum writes about  is either A: redundant things that I already know or B. doesn’t pertain to me. Overall, there is nothing that compels me to read it. I would only even open the webpage if one of my friends asked me to, if I’m being completely honest here. Lastly, the Forum gathering announcements//emails are always the same, and they get really boring. Another student who doesn’t read the Forum proclaimed that,“It’s partly because I don’t know where to look and partly because I never check my email so…yeah.” For contrast, I spoke with students who do read the forum. One explained “I read the forum because a lot of my friends write for it and I try to support them. Other than that, I love the buzzfeed quizzes.” Another student responded by saying, “I read the forum because lately, there have been a lot of controversial or “room for debate” articles which are really fascinating to read. Other than that, I like to hear what other students in the school have to share about interesting topics.” After hearing all this feedback, I have come to a conclusion. Why should we, (the forum writers that is), take the time out of our busy and overloaded weekly schedules to write thoughtful and planned out articles when such a few number of people take the time to read them or even check the website? We need to get people to read our articles, but the question is, how do we do this? How do we get more readers? For starters, we could make sure everyone knows how to access the Forum. Yes, this means that it would be worth it for us to ensure that people understand how to access our webpage with sometime of  gathering presentation, etc. It is important that we give a bit more background to the student body of what specific issues consist of, so that our peers know the numerous options there are for them to read about. There will of course still be people who choose not to read the Forum, but that is their problem. If we follow these simple guidelines, it will be a piece of cake to push that 250 up to 450! ]]>