And with 13,239 unique voters casting ballots, it’s the Press’ largest voter turnout in the 16-year history of Readers Choice. In total, 215,365 votes were cast across 276 categories.
“It means a lot to the people who win,” said Johnson City Press Advertising Director Richard Clark. “It’s really important for them to be able to say in their advertising that they were a Readers Choice winner for that year.
“It’s really a big deal for people to say they were voted ‘Best of the Best’ by our readers — not chosen by committee, but absolutely by our readers,” Clark said.
Though tallying votes electronically and not by paper (as was the case in the contest’s early years) has made the process a little easier, it’s still a massive undertaking for the Press’ advertising and inside sales team, which also enlists help from the Press’ sister paper, the Kingsport Times News.
In the end, more than a dozen people work to put together and organize the annual Readers Choice awards, a process that lasts four months — including four total weeks of voting (two weeks for nominations and two more for final voting).
“It’s our largest contest/promotion of the year, but the thing we really like about it is that it’s the readers that choose it,” Clark said.
While the winners were notified in advance, the full list of winners is available for all to see in today’s edition, which features a new magazine-style booklet and dozens of first-time and repeat winners who are now, undoubtedly, the “Readers Choice.”