Important Questions From 1989


Come with me to 1989. Tim Burton's Batman was the No. 1 movie of the year. In music, Paula Abdul's Forever Your Girl spent 10 weeks at the top of the pop charts. George H.W. Bush was president. Charlie Royer was mayor. And the Alaskan Way Viaduct was just fine; we never worried about it.

In that same year, I discovered, Seattle Weekly sent out a readership questionnaire to its paid subscribers. That's back before we and all other alt-weeklies in the country went free. People actually wrote a check and had copies of SW delivered to their homes by mail. (Because, you see, there were no Internets.) David Brewster, our paper's founder in 1976, was still editor and publisher. In his cover letter to the questionnaire, he wrote (in a charmingly typewriter-like font),

"We need to know who you are, what you like to do, and what your interests and shopping habits are. I assure you we will take your comments and answers very seriously."
And for participating, readers could receive a Matt Groening calendar. Highlights from the questionnaire after the jump...

Seattle Weekly's readership questionnaire was pretty standard stuff, so far as marketing is concerned. In fact, we apparently sent out two per year, mainly as an aid to selling ads. The questions asked readers to check boxes in response to some of these queries, which I'll rephrase slightly to avoid the multiple choice format...

  • How do you feel that the Weekly's subscription price of $29.95?
  • What other media do you read besides the Weekly? (Choices included The Rocket and The Journal-American, RIP.)
  • In the last 12 months, have you pursued leisure events including golf, scuba-diving, or ceramics?
  • Who do you like better and read first: Roger Downey, Fred Moody, Kathryn Robinson, Eric Scigliano, or Mary Brennan?
  • Do you find the news that you read in the Weekly more or less credible than what you read in the dailies?
  • In the last 12 months, how often have you purchased a lottery ticket, contributed to public radio, or redecorated your home?
  • Have you shopped recently at Fredrick & Nelson, I. Magnin, Lamont's, Loemann's, or the Bon?
  • Do you soon intend to purchase an electric/electronic typewriter, telephone answering machine, or videocassette recording system/playback unit?
  • Which of the following do you consider yourself to be: heterosexual, gay, lesbian, or bisexual?
(That last one was tagged "optional," because we don't like to pry.) And, finally, a question that's still pertinent, that we still dare to ask today: Using any adjectives you want, how would you describe Seattle Weekly? Go ahead--we can take it.
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