Monday, May 05, 2008

Survey says: Graphic sex sells in Indianapolis

[Who's yer daddy? Readers are kissin' and tellin']

I thought Indiana and its capital were the epitome of Norman Rockwell's wholesome heartland -- until I took a peek at The Indianapolis Star's ongoing reader sex survey, on this page. The hook: Men's Health magazine found that Indianapolis ranks No. 1 among the "most-sexed" U.S. cities, based on a combination of birth rates, condom sales and purchases from sex-toy companies.

Wandering through the survey questionnaire, I saw some eye-opening questions that made me wish I'd been a fly on the wall when editors ran them past Publisher Babs "Dominatrix" Henry. (She did vet the survey in advance, didn't she?) Here's one, with the possible responses:

Men, downstairs, would you prefer your partner to have the:
  • Bare Brazilian
  • Landing strip
  • Trimmed and terrific
  • It's a jungle out there
(Confidential to Mistress Henry: Can't wait for that IndyKinky microsite! And yet: You may want to review the survey again. "Cornhole," for example, carries some, uh, nuanced meanings.)

Your thoughts, in the comments section, below. Use this link to e-mail feedback, tips, snarky letters, etc. See Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the green sidebar, upper right.


  1. It's not the Indianapolis Star (the newspaper brand) but rather, their young-reader site with their INtake magazine. They are published by the same company but it might be somewhat misleading to characterize it "The Indianapolis Star's sex survey."

    By the way lots of the young-reader sites also have sex surveys and they've prompted some good stories and discussions on the Web sites.

  2. Jim, I feel fairly confident that this isn't the first time anyone has linked Gannett with the word "cornhole."

    Readers know it as the area afflicted by a deep burning sensation after spending 50 cents or 50 minutes to plow through 12 wire stories and a blog on faith-based scrapbooking but not a fucking thing about the assclowns at City Hall.
    Empoyees recognize it chiefly as a past-tense verb, to wit:
    "The desk cornholed my story to make room for 'I Dressed Up My Puppy!' pictures"
    "Mark wouldn't take a buyout so they cornholed him with 5 assignments a day until he quit. Well, techically speaking, he died -- but they said that constitutes quitting, so they owed him no severance."

    It's a wise publisher indeed who knows her readers & workers.

  3. Jim, just to clarify the situation a little further: The Star's youth publication used to be called INtake and was a separate staff and budget. Last year they folded that staff into the Star's features department (now called "My Life") and changed the name of INtake to Since then, most of the former INtake staff has departed, so Star people work on and vice-versa. And all of the Star's arts and entertainment coverage (such as it is) gets put on the Web site rather than So they're technically separate products, but tied at the hip.

    So, let's say you're a 10-year-old kid surfing the Star's Web site and want to read about movies and bands. You'll get taken to the site and see that big promo for the sex survey.

  4. To Anon@5:05 a.m.: Puh-leeze! "Powered by The Indianapolis Star" appears prominently on the page.

  5. As with unmoderated comments and endless pet photos, Gannett sites will do almost anything for clicks. Anyone for Page 2 girls?

  6. You will go nowhere with that attitude! Page 1, however, would be another story.

  7. Another confirmation. Daily newspapers and alt weeklies do not mix. And for that matter, few product extensions ever worked because of the sordid newspaper business model.

  8. I mean I don't think it's too big of a deal for the site especially since the seem to be targeting a younger, trendier audience than the Indy Star traditionally does.

    I think if this was on the Star's Web site or in their newspaper, I could see how someone could view it as pandering to a college audience.

    This isn't nearly as bad as the Muncie Star Press (another Gannett paper by the way) running a wire story about a study on "Girls Gone Wild" on their front page in 2006.

  9. The survey, that went up 5 days ago, has already amassed more than 4,600 responses.

  10. It's actually listed on the Star's front page. I've heard some complaints out in the community about this survey and its visibility on the front page. Separate publications, my ass. There's no such thing as an staff after almost all of them quit after the merger.

  11. As I understand it, there's only one original staffer left after the Information Center merger less than one year ago.

  12. Thanks to the departmental management, I'm sure.

  13. I challenge you to find a more 'difficult' features editor.
    -Ex-INtake Staffer

  14. The editor must have some good crap on someone - why else would s/he still have a job, while ruining the morale of the stafff AND the publication?

    They should have never mixed the two - Star and Those kids need their own space to foster their own ideas...and print a cuss word now and then.


  15. They merged the two because they needed the extra staffers for the newsroom. Regular attrition without ever hiring a replacement does that to you.

  16. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  17. When The Star merged its editorial and staff into it's "My Life" cocktail, there was some heating barking over the advertorial staff being thrown into the mix out of the Advertising department. The guild fought off Ali Zoibi's attempt to insist that editorial writers would be asked to write for the Dark Side (Darker Side?). Seemed odd that not a peep was made when the advertorial staff was secreted back into Marketing last summer. Perhaps folks still are shaking from the close call they fear might not be collecting dust?


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