Full disclosure: After eight years on the job, I still feel a little tingle of pride whenever one of our Best of the Valley window stickers greets me at a bicycle or coffee shop, or when I see that a barbecue joint owner has cared enough to mount and frame a BOV issue to celebrate their good works.
To me, such logo sightings are the best endorsement possible of this annual PHOENIX issue – a sure sign that, after 20 years, Best of the Valley has firmly threaded itself inside the community’s consumer consciousness.
But this year, the tingle feels a little different, more like a sustained electric buzz, due to some important developments in the BOV universe. (If that sounds a little grandiose, guilty as charged – but rest assured, producing a 48-page salute to local dining, shopping and culture is a ton of work.)
First, we supercharged the Readers’ Picks section in a big way in 2019, adding a slew of new categories – Looking for a quality veterinarian? We’ve got you covered! – and streamlining our online voting platform. The results were startling: Almost 200,000 ballots cast, comprising around 70,000 unique visitors. I wish I could take credit, but PHOENIX operations manager Molly Johnson is the capable culprit, and you can find the results of the vote here.
And more exciting news: BOV is going prime-time this year. For the first time, PHOENIX will partner with 3TV/CBS5 to produce a one-hour Best of the Valley TV show – a companion piece of sorts to the physical issue. Scheduled to follow pre-season NFL football on CBS5 (Friday, August 23 at 8:30 p.m.), it will animate BOV in a whole new way, via spotlight videos, celebrity interviews and segments hosted by Arizona’s Family on-air reporters and anchors. We hope you tune in.
So that’s the new stuff. The not-as-new, but still awesome stuff: almost 50 pages of taste tests, itineraries, Valleywide “Four Corners” graphics and other fun contraptions that push the expressive possibilities of magazine publishing to its limits. At least to those of us on the “inside,” it’s astounding how far the issue has evolved since the first Best of the Valley feature, 20 years ago – a mere four-page listing of picks with a smattering of photos.
And we’re not finished evolving. Or tingling.