AT LONG LAST, THE WINNERS.
After several weeks of your voting, a week or so of tabulating, and a couple more weeks of contacting the winners and writing about them, we present to you the results of our annual Best of Savannah Readers Poll.
While the Connect Savannah Best of Savannah issue and accompanying awards party are always among the year's most anticipated local events, perhaps the biggest news to come out of this year's competition is that total voting nearly doubled last year's total.
That's right: Even with just about every other newspaper and magazine in town putting together their own copy-cat contest based on ours -- in some cases actually scheduling their own contest to coincide with our own in a lame attempt to piggyback on our readers' voting -- we smoked the competition yet again.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but: This week's 96-page special issue is the largest issue of Connect Savannah ever put together. As a frame of reference, it's literally twice the size of our usual weekly edition.
What I'm trying to say is we pretty much bust our ass to put this thing together every year. And I think it shows.
In my view this brings us back to the constant lesson, one which many media companies still haven't learned:
Content Is King.
But then again, as a content creator I guess I'm pretty biased.
Speaking of content creators, let's talk about this year's cover. Our cover photographer this year is Bob Jones, whose work you might remember from our St. Patrick's Day cover this past March.
Working on his own concept, Jones photographed several noteworthy winners individually on set at Meddin Studios, who were kind enough to host the shoot.
He manipulated the images to provide us with several designs, one of which made the cover.
The altogether awesome cover subjects this year are (in alphabetical order):
• Jason Cobb - The dashing young man in the Regency-era outfit is an interpretive guide at the Owens-Thomas House, which won this year for Best Historic Building. (The O-T House is also part of the Telfair Museums, which won several other categories as well.)
• Lloyd Harold aka KidSyc - This year's winner for Best Rap Artist and one of Savannah's most renowned young cultural figures.
• Bob Jones - Yup, the photographer's in the picture! Bob also won a Best of Savannah Readers Poll award this year, for writing/directing/shooting this year's Best Video, by Cusses.
• Steve Baumgartner aka Basik Lee - This year's straight-up winner for Best Local Club DJ.
• JinHi Soucy Rand - The beautiful and talented proprietor of MUSE Arts Warehouse on Louisville Road (just down the railroad track from Meddin) is an actress in her own right, and works hard to bring quality, affordable cultural offerings to Savannah in her new venture at this restored railroad depot-turned-theater and art house.
For those of you unfamiliar with how all this goes down, here's the drill:
Every winner gets their own blurb. Most get a short one or two-liner, while a few from each section get an extended breakout profile with accompanying photo.
How do we pick the extended profiles?
Typically the longer profiles go to those who are either A) brand-new first-time winners (The Sparetime), B) inaugural winners of a brand-new category (Kevin Rose and his wife Danielle Hughes Rose, serendipitously in two separate categories), C) winners who are particularly topical and newsworthy (Tony Abruzzio's YouTube video), or D) frequent annual winners who for a particular reason or another deserve a closer look this year (Jepson Center, Olde Pink House).
While the short blurbs tend to be more collective efforts, each extended blurb bears the initials of the reporter, as follows:
BDY - Our insightful Arts & Entertainment Editor Bill DeYoung.
JLL - Our scintillating Community Editor Jessica Leigh Lebos.
JM - Yours truly.
As always, Robin Wright Gunn continues to do an amazing job with the daunting task of compiling our listings.
Thanks also go to our talented and hard-working design/production staff, comprising Brandon Blatcher and Alice Johnston. And kudos to our dynamic sales force, led by General Manager Chris Griffin and consisting of Jay Lane, Whitney Taylor and Ellisia Jesnes.
Congratulations to all our winners this year, and most of all, thanks to you for voting in this year's Best of Savannah Readers Poll and making this issue possible.