more perspective, less hype.
Less ‘propaganda’, more debate.
on VIPs; more on volunteers and experiences of National Societies.
More outside perspective, less formality.
These are just a few of the views from members of the Red
Cross Red Crescent Movement in a survey commissioned by the
editorial board of Red Cross Red Crescent magazine to better
understand what readers like, and don’t like, about the
periodical’s look, content and direction.
satisfaction is high — around 80 per cent expressed positive
feelings about the magazine. And that’s not hype. That’s
the finding of Owl Research and Evaluation, which conducted
interviews with 89 people from 31 National Societies (in nine
languages), as well as at head - quarters and field offices
of the ICRC and IFRC.
While readers generally liked the content,
they gave more mixed reviews when asked about design and layout.
design can be better,” said an IFRC communications staffer
in Asia. “It’s a bit too traditional. Use more
photos and photo essays.”
WHAT DO READERS WANT MORE OF?
FEATURES ON THE ACTIVITIES OF NATIONAL SOCIETIES
STORIES AND FEATURES ON VOLUNTEERISM
ARTICLES, CHALLENGES AND DEBATES AND VOICES FROM OUTSIDE THE
MOVEMENT ON KEY ISSUES. TOO NICE
What don’t they like?
Many said that the magazine is too nice to colleagues in the
Movement. “Some respondents commented that they saw a ‘selfcongratulatory’ tendency
in the writing,” the report concluded. “Most respondents
would prefer a more self-critical approach in addressing social
issues while staying close to topics of interest, such as volunteering
and experiences of National Societies.”
In addition to
inspiring those within the Movement, it should provoke dialogue
and feedback in a wide range of audiences. Meanwhile, others
felt the magazine’s approach was too “academic” and
that a “lighter” tone would “appeal to more
(notably younger) audiences”. Speaking of audience, exactly
who reads the magazine? While headquarters in Geneva generally
see the magazine as internal to the Movement and targeted towards
National Society leadership, it is often used by National Societies
for external communications with media, government officials
For many, the magazine serves as a way to show
their connection to a wider, international movement. Even as
the internet is increasingly accessible, there are still many
for whom a print magazine is the best way to get Movement news,
according to the study.
One area of agreement: as the only
venue that represents the Movement — National Societies,
the IFRC and the ICRC — many suggested they want the
magazine to keep showing up in their mailboxes.
Red Cross Red
Crescent magazine has already responded with a redesign launched
with this issue and the editorial board intends to act on many
of the respondents’ other suggestions in coming editions.
Stay tuned and please keep letting us know what you think.
Letters to the editor
Here’s a collection of ideas from Red Cross Red
Crescent staff around the world, about what they want
to see in Red Cross Red Crescent magazine, according
to a recent survey:
“It would be great to have greater participation
from the National Societies.” Communications officer,
National Society, Middle East
“The magazine should have its own personality.
Be more holistic. Include opinion pieces and also letters
and feedback. More indepth focus on topics.”
staff, IFRC Asia
“Create a network of editors, including
the national magazines for exchange of articles, translations
and ideas.” Operational staff, National Society, Europe
“More interesting stories — especially
from the point of view of victims, written by victims.
Third-party perspectives, rather than Red Cross advertisement.” Communications
staff, ICRC Asi