How We Listen To You: 2023 Reader Survey Results

The Ingleside Light uses its annual reader survey to collect feedback and information for guiding coverage and more.

Scenes from around Ingleside San Francisco
A collage drawn from photos The Ingleside Light published in 2023. | Ingleside Light

The Ingleside Light surveyed readers to collect feedback on its journalism and more for a third year in a row in 2023. The purpose of the exercise: To get to know readers and understand what they want to better serve them.

Over 100 readers generously took the time to share their ideas, opinions and information. We thank them for bearing with us as we ironed out the kinks with the survey after moving it from Mailchimp to Google Forms.

It’d be easy to linger on the accolades — one reader commented “The Ingleside Light rules!” — but there were a lot of serious ideas and criticisms to consider.

While we can’t bring back the monthly print newspaper as a good number of readers would like, we’ve already made some changes and want to make more.

Here are our takeaways.

Events, Events, Events

Every weekly newsletter now includes a selection of upcoming events. We tried this out for a time a couple years ago — and we should have never stopped. Sharing this kind of neighborhood happenings is a simple form of community building.

Website Improvements

Be sure to check out our new and improved website and updated contact page. More improvements are on the way!

Reader Satisfaction

Over 42% of respondents were happy with The Ingleside Light and 36% were satisfied. 25% were OK with our coverage. No one gave the lowest rating of “unsatisfied.”

Our takeaway: While we were glad no one gave us the lowest rating, one in four respondents do think we’re only doing just alright. That’s tough to process.

Subscription Cost

Both my wife and I are subscribers, so by household I guess you could say that we think $10-$12 is a fair price for The Ingleside Light.

Most readers want the monthly subscription cost to stay at $5 per month but a good number think it ought to be more. Our compromise: We’ve accommodated the first group by making the yearly rate $59.99, which is about $5 per month. We've raised monthly rate to $9.99.


We took down the paywall entirely in September. Every article is free to read. It’s unclear how long this will stand. We may have to institute a registration wall (again) similar to the kind operated by national news companies.

What we really want is for enough readers to support our news so that everyone can enjoy it for free.

News Topics

The constraints of neighborhood news being what they are, we can only cover so much. Readers strangely did not prioritize violent crime or property crime in their desired coverage areas at all, choosing instead local events, small business, community trends, city government and transportation.

Here's more on what readers want:

  • Business: The most-desired category of coverage by a country mile was business. Specifically, more stories about the retail vacancies along Ocean Avenue. 
  • Events: As indicated elsewhere, information about upcoming events was in high demand. 
  • Housing: The Balboa Reservoir development and El Rey development were top of mind.
  • Government and nonprofit corruption: The Ingleside Light does not have the resources to tackle government and nonprofit corruption. Yet a handful of readers really want that coverage.
  • City Hall updates: Readers say they want to know what’s going on with our Board of Supervisors and Mayor’s Office yet data shows those stories don’t do well.
  • Transportation: This will certainly be covered. There are so many projects in the works.

What Readers Said

Just for fun, here are some reader comments.

Keep reporting as you are, it's good stuff. Meets neighborhood needs.
I rely on The Ingleside Light to know what's going on that affects quality of life in this neighborhood.
The Ingleside Light continues to evolve as a necessary resource for people in the neighborhood. Good reporting, good editing and good choice of stories. Maybe do more restaurant reviews.
How can we help you? News outlets like yours are important to the area’s health.
I value your local news coverage, never miss an edition!
I would love to see more frequent content from The Ingleside Light. Thanks for keeping the neighborhood informed and for promoting small business in the area!
Thank you for providing local coverage and continuing to practice journalism in an extremely tough environment.
Thank you for the content you are providing. Other sources only cover the Ingleside area when there is a crime.
Your publication is an essential part of our local news.
News outlets like yours are important to the area’s health.

Reality Check

It’s expensive to operate in San Francisco. And it’s even tougher to run a general interest news publication as the conditions of digital publishing change. The Ingleside Light aims to publish six articles and two email newsletters per week but has never had the resources to meet that goal.

How To Chip In

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