Recent News

Poll Conducted by CSA Shows Strong Support for a New Management System for Groundfish

posted: June 8, 2009

The Pew Environment Group released today the results of a public opinion survey conducted with voters in Maine and Massachusetts, which showed that voters overwhelmingly support a new management system for the groundfish (cod, flounder, haddock) that have been a cornerstone of New Englandís economy for centuries.

The poll, conducted by City Square Associates, addressed voter attitudes toward overfishing as well as major changes the New England Fishery Management Council is considering that will improve sustainable management of these important fish populations. The council will vote on these changes during its meeting in Portland, Maine, June 22-25, 2009. The key findings make a strong case for the publicís desire for change in this storied fishery.

1. Voters overwhelmingly support a new management system 66 percent of voters in Maine and Massachusetts favor "a new management system . . . that sets specific annual catch limits . . . based on what the best available science says is necessary to restore fish populations."

2. Voters know and care about New Englandís shrinking fish stocks Over three-quarters of those polled were aware of overfishing problems in New England, and of those, nine out of ten think something needs to be done to solve it.

3. People want fish for their children and grandchildren Voters support a new management system principally as a function of their desire that future generations be able "to enjoy delicious and healthful native wild fish."

4. Wastefulness of current management system changes minds The fact that fishermen in New England are forced by current regulations to throw hundreds of pounds of fish overboard dead each year instead of bringing them to market moves public opinion: 44 percent of opposed and undecided voters said learning this made them more supportive of the new approach to fisheries management.

5. Voters embrace the ideas of community-based cooperatives and basic fairness The flexibility that sectors (community-based, fishermen-run cooperatives) offer resonates strongly with voters. A majority of those polled say that the latitude given to the cooperatives by the new plan makes them more inclined to favor it. And they agree that what is fair is fair: both sector and non-sector vessels should have the same basic rules apply.

"It is clear that, when it comes to this issue, people are motivated by a deeply-held concern about their families and the future," said Chris Schiavone, president of City Square Associates. "Voters are convinced that, by rebuilding the populations of threatened species, it will be possible for future generations to enjoy delicious and healthful native wild fish." The Fishery Management Council will also be considering various alternatives that will endeavor to hold those vessels not in sectors to the same standards as sectors Ė a concept a majority of voters embraced as basic fairness." Universal standards for firm catch limits and monitoring for the entire fleet are the only way to create a fair fishery and ensure that sectors succeed," added Peter Baker, New England Fisheries Campaign Manager for Pew Environment Group.

Click here for an executive summary of the CSA study.

A Not So Extreme Makeover

posted: May 29, 2009

As reported in the New York Times, the venerable PBS icon, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer is about to undergo a makeover, in the interest of expanding its audience and ensuring the availability of its unique brand of high quality journalism to future generations. City Square is proud to report that it has been The NewsHour's strategic audience research partner in the year leading up to this announcement, having designed and analyzed a major portion of the consumer and local station research that helped MacNeil-Lehrer Productions set the brand's course for the future.

"We have been conducting news audience research for a range of commercial and public media clients over the past several years," CSA President Chris Schiavone explains, "so I'd like to think we were able to bring a solid longitudinal perspective to the questions The NewsHour was asking. Particularly with the growth in cable television and the availability of news-related content on new media platforms, all news organizations have to adapt in order to stay relevant. The great thing here is that it looks like The NewsHour isn't just planning to adapt; they plan to lead."

One element of the makeover involves merging on-air and online operations into one entity in a way that reinforces its core mission. In a press release coinciding with the annual PBS Showcase in Baltimore earlier this month, The NewsHour announced that, "through the integration of its reporting teams, PBS NewsHour will provide news content best suited to specific platforms. There will also be a new player on the team, an online correspondent, who will represent the link between the online news operation and the nightly broadcast. This person will post four-to-five-minute video news summaries online throughout the day and also anchor the news summary on the nightly PBS NewsHour broadcast."

"We're thrilled to be working with PBS and MLP as they proceed with these changes," said Schiavone. "Solid audience insight can't replace the good judgment of executives. But judgments made with solid information about what Web users and TV viewers are actually doing and looking for are more likely to be sound."


Research in the News

posted: May 1, 2009

Research conducted by City Square Associates on behalf of The Bridgespan Group, a consulting organization serving the nonprofit sector, was prominently featured in the Wall Street Journal and the Chronicle of Philanthropy

CSA custom-designed this study for Bridgespan, who wanted to obtain an accurate measurement of the management hiring practices of US 501(c)(3) organizations. "This was an incredibly challenging study to design," commented Chris Schiavone, CSA President. "There were no truly representative lists of American nonprofits available to us, so we had to build the sample from scratch. On top of that, the individuals in the best position to answer our questions were Executive Directors and CEOs--a notoriously difficult cohort for research." By using a phone-to-email methodology, CSA was able to obtain by telephone cooperation from prospective respondents and then follow-up with a Web survey that was ultimately completed by  430 individuals at the top executive level nationwide.

Among the findings of the study are the fact that--in spite of a sluggish economy--the demand for senior managers in US nonprofits appears to be growing and will probably outstrip supply within the next 5-10 years. Although non-profit organizations appear already to be making extensive use of "bridgers" (i.e., individuals who are moving from the for-profit to nonprofit sector), more bridgers will most likely be needed to fill the expected gap. A concern about the "cultural fit" may be getting in the way, as success in the nonprofit world demands a strong commitment to an organization's mission and values. (An executive summary of the findings and a link to a PDF of the report can be found at (Click here for downloadable PDF of the report.)

"We were delighted to have the opportunity to collaborate with Bridgespan on this project," says Schiavone. "Bringing the best practices of business into living contact with the mission and altruism of the nonprofit sector has always been part of the CSA vision, and this project shows what can happen when the two pieces come together."