“Thank you” Yemen Times Readers [Archives:1999/14/Viewpoint]

April 5 1999

I spent a few hours last week going over the print-out of the analysis on the readership profile questionnaire offered by Yemen Times a few issues back. We got some 1720 responses – both online and in hard copy. Yemen Times will print the detailed readership profile next week. I must say that I was immensely gratified by the feedback. More specifically, it was a learning experience, as follows: 
A: Who Are the YT Readers? 
One of the most startling facts I discovered was the skewed readership base. Within Yemen, the two major blocks of readership base are either the affluent or powerful, or the students. The online readers are more diverse, made up of the Yemeni diaspora, the travel industry, or various foreigners who have academic/business/political interests in Yemen. 
Within Yemen, the average income of the readers – excluding the students, is over YR 800000 per year or some US$ 5,340. That is well above the national per capita average income of US$ 260. 
The top readership base includes a hefty 30% which makes more than US$ 50,000 a year. 
Of course, the other side to the equation is the students, who do not, as yet, generate much income. 
What is disturbing is that the Yemen Times does not have a middle class readership base. Come to think of it, this is logical. There is no middle class in Yemen, though there could be a muddle class. 
B: What Do Our Readers Want? 
By and large, the readers gave Yemen Times high marks. We do have a satisfied customer base. 
One point that repeatedly came up was the need for more local news. Apparently, our readers want our page 2 (Local News Briefs) to be expanded. We will oblige. 
One point that came out was in terms of style. Our readers noted too much emphasis on interviews leading to less room for analysis. While we will try to balance things out, I would like to mention that the reason for depending more on direct quotes is simple… There isn’t much printed material on Yemen. 
The government does not produce many statistics or reports. The private sector does not. The foreigners do not. In fact, the very opposite is true. Information is held back on purpose and is released only with difficulty. Therefore, to get information we are forced to interview people and quote them. 
C: Reliable Source: 
The main comment that kept coming time and again is that the Yemen Times has become the most widely used source on current information in English on Yemen. The accuracy and objective reporting have made the paper the “most reliable” source on Yemen. 
But it is not just that. It also has to do with the broad-based coverage. The Yemen Times does stories on law, diplomacy, business, culture, social issues, health, environment, sports and many other aspects of life in Yemen. 
That does give a comprehensive and balanced view of the situation.