OK, our latest edition of our annual ‘Best of Savannah' readers poll, the first and still the best in the market, is ready for you to click through. Just find the "Best of Savannah" section on the website.
I've always regarded this little exercise in true democracy to be an interesting piece of market research. If you read the tea leaves, you can reveal patterns in local lifestyle and economics. For example, a key change this year is the seismic shift in the "Best Neighborhood Bar" category away from longtime winner Pinkie Masters and to a - gasp! - midtown location, bar.food.
What does this tell us about local demographic and socioeconomic trends, at least vis-a-vis our readership? I think it says a lot and I think it means a lot, but I leave the particulars up to you.
Don't forget to check out the runners-up, too - often those are good leading indicators of the up-and-comers who will win outright in next year's poll.
Our awesome cover photo this year, by Geoff L. Johnson, represents who and what we want this issue to be about: Not only the most popular people and places in town, but also the coolest. That doesn't mean the folks on the cover are the only cool people in town, but they certainly make the grade. Thanks to Holly, Kelley, Tony, Rebecca, and Matt for volunteering on short notice to be our "poster children" this year.
A big internal change this year was that this was the first of our annual readers polls conducted totally online, with no print ballots. While one might expect that to skew the results, overall I didn't see any real evidence of that.
I do want to stress - because there are vocal cynics about the poll every year - that the winning honors do not necessarily go to our biggest advertisers, though certainly many of our advertisers win a lot of categories.
While we're always happy when our valued advertisers are recognized by our readers - what newspaper worth its salt wouldn't be thrilled at that? - what you see is what you get: The winners are the people or businesses that got the most votes, period.
As far as the listings themselves go, as usual we highlight some particularly new and noteworthy winners. This year helping us out with some of the profiles is the always-excellent Robin Wright Gunn. As I mentioned last week, we have a new staff member as well, Arts & Entertainment Editor Bill DeYoung, who has jumped on board with the "Best of" fun and also gave us a great interview with vocalist Keith Miller, performing this week.
Profile writers are identified by initials, i.e. RWG for Robin, BDY for Bill, LS for Linda Sickler, and JM for myself.
Enjoy this year's edition, and if you didn't win this year, don't worry - there's always next year's vote.
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"And you deserve better."
Thanks, Jim, for my new campaign slogan.