Behind the BOBs
A look behind the scenes of the preparation of our Best of the Best issue
Contrary to popular opinion (by which I mean I get asked occasionally — since fifth grade, I have had a very loose definition of “popular”), I don’t have much sway over who gets a BOB. Here’s how we did it:
This year, senior editor Blake Miller oversaw the project. In January, she put together a working list of categories for our editors’ picks and for the online ballot (more in a moment on the distinction between the two). She circulated the list of categories among the staff and contributing editors. In all, about a dozen people — each of whom observes and experiences this city with a keen eye all year long—weighed in on which categories we should include.
We put together our master list. The ballot went online. This year, we published the online ballot in increments. One new section went up every two weeks. When a new section went live, voting closed for the previous section. Once voting wrapped, we published every category for a single, twenty-four-hour free-for-all. The winners can be seen at charlottemagazine.com.
For the editors’ picks — which is a different list of categories from the online ballot — Blake assigned each section to a different editor. That editor was charged with thoroughly reporting every single category and coming back with a suggested winner. Once we had the initial winners, our staff met and argued. This is a time-honored tradition of city-magazine best-of lists — the giant staff argument. Tempers flare, food snobbery ensues, gender wars escalate. But we always settle our differences. At this point, the list of BOBs is nearly complete. We may ask editors to go back for more reporting. We may delete some categories; we may add some. In fact, we tweak until the last hour that this behemoth of an issue goes to the printer (another tradition). But go to the printer it does — and you’re holding the result in your hands.
Now, if I could circle back to my original statement … no, I don’t have much sway. But I do have this column. So here are a few personal BOBs:
Best Place to See Live Music: Evening Muse in NoDa. I love the intimacy of this listening room. I like the chairs. I like the talent that plays there.
Best Place to Drink Outside: I have a saying: I like to eat inside and drink outside. That said, on my own deck the drinks are free, I control the iPod, and I get to throw the ball for my dog. Other than that, my commute takes me past Selwyn Pub, and those kids always look like they’re having fun, so I’ll go with that.
Best Burger: I have tried to like other places. But I keep coming back to Big Daddy’s Burger Bar. The patty size is just right, the beef just good enough. Love all the toppings. And the beer selection finishes it off.
Best Cultural Confluence: Seriously, Charlotte’s museums are killing it right now. If you haven’t played tourist in your town lately, now is the time.
Best News: The DNC picked Charlotte. We needed a shot in the arm. The Dems provided. In September 2012, the media and the crazies will descend on our city. That’s gonna be a good time.