The Austin Chronicle’s 24th annual Best of Austin issue is on newsstands and online right now.
Senior Chronicle editor Kate Messer has overseen 19 of the paper’s Best of Austin issues. She stopped by the KUT studios to talk about this year’s issue: changes, surprises and the issue’s role in a growing Austin.
Listen to our conversation in the audio player above. Read below for some highlights from our conversation:
- Counting the ballots: “As I talk to other alternative newsweeklies, I’ve learned that the Chronicle gets an inordinately high number of ballots, compared to most cities that do ‘Best Of’ ballots like this … We don’t air the number of votes because it’s a closely guarded secret, so that people cant game it and stuff the ballot box … But we get way [into] five figures.”
- New recipe for ‘Food:’ “Our food poll, which normally happens in the spring was changed up. That has become strictly a critics awards issue called First Plates. And Best of Austin has now taken up the slack in allowing readers to vote for categories like best pizza, best hamburgers and all that good stuff.”
- A ‘Politics & Personalities’ mandate: “I can sum it up with two words, and I’ll just repeat them over and over: Wendy Davis, Wendy Davis, Wendy Davis. … Twelve of our 15 readers categories were directly or indirectly related to the abortion bill filibuster.”
- On Best of Austin: “Best of Austin not only scrapes up all the new and cool stuff that s going on – but we make a concerted effort to honor old favorites and standards, and maybe places that have gone off the radar a little bit, but are still near and dear to our hearts.”
Editor's note: The Austin Chronicle is an underwriting sponsor of KUT.