I have a bone to pick with you.
I want to start off saying that I thoroughly enjoy your publication and read it every other week. I think you are a great contributor to the growing culture of the Quad Cities that is much needed and appreciated. With that said ... the bone.
The "Best of the Quad Cities" for fall of 2011 was disappointing to say the least. It is not a good representation of the entire area given to the nature of how the submissions were collected and whom they were collected from. In the introduction it's mentioned that it was like "pulling teeth" to get people to participate in this style of survey. It is evident from the results that this way of polling the public's opinion did not work.
There are a lot of different elements at play when conducting a survey ... who responds, who doesn't, how the questions are worded, etc. I feel it's commonly known that the more people you poll, you'll get a more accurate reflection of the public's opinion; you talk to more people, you get more data. It is clear that the Reader did not do that. For example, Leslie Bell was quoted in the article eight times. I apologize if I don't know this Quad Citian, if he is well-versed on the cultural goings-on of the area so much so that his opinion is printed eight times. But if he does lend this kind of credibility due to his background, shouldn't we as the audience be informed of that?
I think it is a fantastic idea to talk to people in the business about the business they're in; regardless of said business, a seasoned person's opinion can be of interest. That is why an audience is usually informed of one's expertise in an introduction, validating the reason the audience should listen; it lends credibility. This brings me to my next beef with the article. If the Reader asks only a handful of people what their opinion is and their profession gives them the credibility to speak on such a matter, it should be included outright in the article.
This is why I think we should have been told more clearly the professions of Santo Pullella (talent buyer for Rozz-Tox), Kate Benson (director of entertainment for the River Music Experience), and Tom Swanson (executive director of the River Music Experience) while they informed us of the best live music venues in town and who the best band is (which contains two members who are also River Music Experience employees). Those of us who know who these people are understand why you sought out opinions from them, but not including their trade seems misleading.
That being said, it might have been helpful for the Reader to name those who were asked to comment but declined.
I do not presume to know a lot about journalism or statistics, but I know enough to know that this article is not a good one and how you collected your data was not accurate in any way. The opinions were taken from too small of a pool of selected people and it comes off, at times, as bias and at others as shameless promotion. I bet that in your pile of data and quotes and information you collected from the survey you have a story of some kind, but this was not the way to present it. In my opinion, if an idea doesn't work properly, you scrap it and begin again; you don't force something shoddy through to meet a deadline.
Good luck next time.