Journalism has an uneasy relationship with cliche. Near the top of the list of reporters' rules is the admonition to avoid cliche whenever possible. Hot on its heels is the warning that some cliches are true for a reason. At the end of the day, it's not in anyone's interest to avoid a useful turn of phrase just because it gets pressed into service frequently.
You may wonder, gentle reader, where I'm going with this. Here's the thing: A cliche of the Best of Halifax Readers' Choice Awards is that winners always credit their colleagues and staff for earning the win, and thank Coast readers for their votes. But as I sit down to write about BOH17, shouting out Coast staffers and readers is the only thing on my mind.
BOH is a complex exercise in democracy and civic appreciation. Each person in The Coast's tiny office—from deputy editor Allison Saunders, the survey's chief wrangler, to Matt, the high school co-op intern—works tirelessly to make it happen. As a team they produce a unique reason for the city to take pride in itself, something much bigger than The Coast.
Coast readers are the straw that stirs the BOH drink, the reason our readers' choice awards are among the longest-running in Canada. This year set a participation record, with over 20,000 people casting upwards of 800,000 votes across 208 categories. Seeing our readers engaging so much in the city and The Coast is a real vote of confidence.
Another thing that comes up around BOH is concern that we just give awards to advertisers. This is fake news, however, not a cliche.
Like most democratic systems, we allow candidates to market themselves to voters who are heading to the polls, yet the results are 100 percent, exclusively determined by the reading public. You will see a lot of ads in this issue from winners, but they're in the same boat as me: Grateful, humbled and proud. They've earned bragging rights and they really do want to thank Coast readers. You're the Best, after all, and it's not like advertising with Facebook or Google is a reliable way to reach you. As the song says, you have to dance with the one that brought you.
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