A survey was carried out to determine the ways in which trade journal editors are able to answer the various types of enquiry which they receive, and to discover how far they are willing to do so. Editors of thirty‐five paid‐circulation and five controlled‐circulation journals were interviewed by means of the informal guided (focused) technique, the majority on a personal‐interview basis. The results from the paid‐circulation journals indicated that most of the enquiries received are telephoned, and require trade information. These can be answered most easily by the editors. Technical enquiries can be dealt with successfully by about half of the editors interviewed. Out of the enquiries relating to journal‐published material, those referring to editorial articles are usually handled by the editors concerned, whereas those referring to contributed articles tend to be referred to the contributing authors. Enquiries for marketing information can again be answered by about half of the editors interviewed, usually those whose journals aim to cover the marketing aspects of their fields. Peripheral enquiries tend to be referred to other trade journals. Most of the editors are prepared to spend between fifteen minutes and one hour on an enquiry, if necessary. About half of them are prepared to do research to find out answers to enquiries, and will give detailed answers when they are required. Just under half of the editors interviewed considered that readers' enquiries are very important, and nine of the sample journals provide some type of specialized enquiry service to deal with them. Since editors are up to date and well informed in their fields, they can usually put the enquirer in touch with people who can help. The degree to which an editor will help an enquirer depends largely on his personal attitude (whether he enjoys answering enquiries, for example), and also on the time he has available and whether he thinks the enquirer is ‘genuine’. The results of the interviews with controlled‐circulation journal editors were very similar to those of paid‐circulation journal editors.
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