McAlavy, ‘Family Circus’ top readers’ list

By David Stevens: Freedom New Mexico editor

To our readers,

You regularly check out Curry County Historian Don McAlavy’s column and most of you don’t care for Amy Alkon’s advice column.

That’s what you told us in a recent survey published in the paper.

We received more than 300 responses to the surveys, most telling us they “always” or “sometimes” read columnists McAlavy, Grant McGee, Anita Doberman and “Dear Abby,” along with comics “Family Circus,” “Blondie” and “Beetle Bailey.”

Regular features the majority of you told us you “never” read include the spicy advice columnist Alkon and the comic “Wee Pals.”

We asked readers to participate in the survey because we’re considering changes as we do every year or two.

We recently replaced “Dear Abby” with “Annie’s Mailbox” because Abby simply became too expensive — five times more expensive than some of our other syndicated content and more expensive than any of our local columnists.

Despite Abby’s popularity — 59 percent of those responding to the survey said they “always” read her — we’re confident “Annie’s Mailbox” will find a similarly loyal audience.

With the cost savings, we’ll be able to add two new features — the “Earl” cartoon (similar to Ace Reid’s classic “Cowpokes” for you old-timers) and humor columnist Argus Hamilton — to our Web site at www.cnjonline.com by January.

One other change we’ll make at the end of this year will be to replace “Non Sequitur,” which has been around for a while, but fared poorly in surveys in Clovis and Portales. We’ll replace it with “The Other Coast,” which we think will appeal to a broader audience.

More changes may follow. But no, there are no plans to kill Alkon’s column, despite its poor readership.

We believe she appeals to a younger crowd and we need more young readers.

While her choice of words and topics are sometimes offensive to our more mature readers, she preaches personal responsibility — and that’s an attitude we’re confident most area residents of all ages can appreciate.

As for the future of “Wee Pals,” advice columnist Jane Glenn Haas, comic “One Big Happy” and other features that don’t seem to be popular: We’d love to hear suggestions for replacements or whether they simply need more time to attract a following.

Send your comments to:

david_stevens@link.freedom.com

Thanks for your input.

— Editor David Stevens