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Message from the MGH

Reflecting on Proto's first year, by Peter L. Slavin and David F. Torchiana.

Summer 2006
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Since we began publishing Proto one year ago, we have been encouraged by the overwhelmingly positive responses from readers. Many have taken the time to challenge our perspectives and share thoughts and opinions about the stories we’ve presented, and this feedback has been enormously helpful as we plan upcoming issues. But magazines hear mostly from their fans, not their critics, so to get an objective take we sent questionnaires along with the spring issue to a random cross-section of readers, and invited those who did not receive printed surveys to answer questions online.

By the yardstick of this survey, we seem to be measuring up. More than 75% of respondents report they are very satisfied with the magazine, and four out of five think Proto is better than other science magazines available today. Readers also sent along comments, and many were heartening: “I would buy Proto in a bookstore if I didn’t get it free in the mail.” “I am quite impressed by the candor as well as the quality of the reports.” “The perspective is often a new perspective, and not a mere rehashing of the majority opinion.” And one of our personal favorites: “Proto shows admirable restraint in eschewing parochial triumphalism.”

As we explained in our first issue, Proto is meant to be a different kind of magazine. By ranging far beyond the walls of this hospital, we hope to provide a forum in which researchers, clinicians and readers, from both inside and outside medicine, can explain, reflect on and debate new developments. Your avid readership and support gives us the courage to continue this sometimes risky undertaking.

Thank you for responding to our survey—and for reading Proto. Nearly 95% of you say you want to keep receiving the publication, and we certainly will continue sending it to you. Please let us know what you think at protoeditor@mgh.harvard.edu.

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