We Have an issue: Everything You Need to Know About The Austin Chronicle’s Best of Austin Awards

When to vote, why to vote, and how to campaign

photo by David Brendan Hall / design by Zeke Barbaro

In this issue we kick off another Best of Austin Awards cycle. For 34 years, we’ve been asking our readers to vote for their favorite people, places, and things. Here’s how it works.

The Readers Poll is divided into two parts. In the first round (March 28-April 8) – aka the nominating round – you’ll write in your favorites in 158 categories from the worlds of Arts & Entertainment, Kids & Family, Nightlife, Politics & Media, Services, Shopping, and Sports & Recreation.

We’ll take a break to tabulate the results, then finalists will be announced (typically five in each category). Choose your favorites in this second round (May 9-20), and, if you are so moved, leave a comment telling us why you love a particular artist/business/nonprofit/park/etc. We’ll choose our favorite comments to run with winners in the June 21 issue.

Wondering why your vote matters? Well, casting a vote is a way to tell fellow Austinites that you think they’re doing a good job, and who doesn’t like positive reinforcement? And if you’re thinking, well, what does one little vote matter among tens of thousands of votes? You’d be surprised how few votes it takes to move the needle. And even if your nominee doesn’t make it to the finals, it’s your opportunity to catch our attention. I use this nomination round to source ideas for Critics Picks all the time, especially in the Wild Card categories. (Yep, there are Critics Picks, too, written by Chronicle staff and contributors; we keep those secret until the June issue.)

Wondering how to get people to vote for you? Ask them! Seriously, it’s totally allowed; in fact, we build free “vote for me” social media assets you can download (find a link to them in the online ballot). Make it even easier for folks by telling them which category they should vote for you in. But here’s the thing: Don’t be a jerk about it. No bots, no bribes or bought votes, no creating 12 different email accounts. It’s one vote per person, period, and we actively look for fraud.

Wondering if Best of Austin is pay to play? Absolutely not. The sales staff sells ads around the ballot, but we have never allowed businesses to purchase a win, and we never will. That’s why your votes are so important: We want our awards to be an accurate and organic reflection of who’s doing really outstanding work in Austin.

So what are you waiting for? Cast your ballot at vote.austinchronicle.com. You can vote in one category or all of them (vote in 30 or more categories to be automatically entered to win a pair of tickets to an Austin FC game). You can also take your time with the ballot and even come back and tweak it – whatever you’ve got in your ballot at 11:59pm on Monday, April 8, when voting closes counts as “casting a ballot.”

Any more questions? Shoot me an email at kjones@austinchronicle.com with the subject line “BOA 2024 question” and I’ll do my best to answer it.

Happy voting!

Citizen, Farewell!

The byline read Wayne Alan Brenner, but the one time I called him Wayne, I got a grimace in return. Brenner it was, then. For more than two decades, he covered arts, culture, and food in these pages: compiling listings; writing reviews, columns, and features; punning up a storm; and sharing his distinctive voice and unique perspective with the people of Austin. Last week, he left the paper, and the city, in pursuit of love. (He alerted readership to his recent engagement, amusingly, in a story about two new-ish boutique hotels.) He’ll be missed here, but we were lucky to have him at the paper as long as we did, and luck is what we wish him, along with every happiness, in his new life in Saskatoon.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

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