PUBLISHER'S NOTE: Celebrating the Best, Pandemic Style | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: Celebrating the Best, Pandemic Style

Photo courtesy Christopher McGee Photography and Aerial Services

Photo courtesy Christopher McGee Photography and Aerial Services


Publisher Todd Stauffer

We published our first ever Best of Jackson issue in January 2003, right after we'd launched the Jackson Free Press in the fall of 2002. Nearly two decades later, a lot has changed in Jackson.

Heck, even State Street has been repaved.

We've always had some good restaurants in Jackson, but this is more of a foodie town than ever before (pandemic aside). Metro Jackson has great options for live music (pandemic aside), live theater and dance (pandemic aside). There's even live comedy now (pandemic aside) and, of course, there's no shortage of places to get married (pandemic aside).

I know we're sick of the pandemic—no pun intended—and ready to get back out there and keep a little less social distance. Not that the curbside take-out and Netflix haven't been fantastic. And we will get there when it's safe as we continue safety precautions to protect each other now.

In times like these, it is more important than ever to celebrate what is good about this place we call home. In that spirit, we're publishing the 18th annual Best of Jackson issue, this one celebrating—among other things—the end of 2020. (Woohoo!)

Congratulations to all of our Finalists and Winners. We took our new Best of Jackson balloting system for a spin for this year's ballot, and it worked—we had the most individual votes we've ever seen in a Best of Jackson contest.

Thanks to everyone who voted and made your voice heard.

If you're a Finalist or Winner in this year's Best of Jackson, we'll be emailing certificates this year—make sure Kimberly Griffin knows where you are (email [email protected] or call 601-362-6121 x11). We also have glass plaques available for purchase (and other options) if you would like one for your wall, shelf, lobby, etc. (We don't authorize any other companies to sell plaques or awards, so if you hear from them, know that they're not official!)

Along with this issue, we're launching the all-new Best of Jackson City Guide, which is live at Again if you're a Finalist or Winner, you've got options for upgrading your listing with custom images, links to your site and some SEO goodness to help people find you in search.

On Feb. 15, we'll have our Best of Jackson virtual awards party via Facebook Live, starting at 6 p.m. If you're a Winner, we would love to get you to record a thank you or acceptance (60 seconds or less) in your place of business, with your team, band, supporting cast, etc., that we can include in the virtual celebration. Email me at [email protected] for details; we'll be reaching out to winners as well.

Our next issue of the Jackson Free Press will publish on March 3, 2021, and one of the main features will be the Best of Jackson 2021 Healthcare ballot, where we take nominations for Best Doctor, Best Dentist, Best Speciality Clinic, Best Hospital and many more. If those are waters you swim in and you'd like to campaign this year (with paid ads and/or free social media graphics) please get hold of Kimberly Griffin or myself.

As this is our first monthly issue of the Jackson Free Press, let me remind you that we continue daily news, people and entertainment reporting online. To stay in the know, subscribe to the email newsletter and, of course, you can follow us on social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter, for breaking news.

If you're a business, nonprofit, promoter or someone else who needs to get the word out about your event or promotion during February, call us even though the print issue is already to bed. We have digital advertising options on and via the Google Display network; we can get your event or promotion announced via JFP Daily as well.

If you haven't heard of JFP Digital Services, you might like what we offer for local businesses and nonprofits. We can help you build a new website, publish a blog and news items, fill your social-media channels, create and maintain an email newsletter, and grow an audience of engaged customers or constituents. If you need help with a communications strategy, social-media strategy, or you want to improve your search position and learn more about digital marketing options—email me ([email protected]).

I'd like to acknowledge the group of fine folks who put this fantastic issue together. Managing Editor Nate Schumann did a lot of the heavy lifting, with support from Web Editor Dustin Cardon, Editorial Assistant Shaye Smith and our team of freelance writers and photographers. Associate Publisher Kimberly Griffin oversaw the balloting and sold ads and sponsorships. Creative Director Kristin Brenenmen pulled everything together into a beautiful package with help from Senior Designer Zilpha Young, who also designed and placed most of the ads. Executive Assistant Azia Wiggins kept various trains running on time.

If you are a Finalist or Winner and see an error in a listing, please let [email protected], and you can reach out to hear to learn more about the Best of Jackson promotional options as well.

Please join us for the Best of Jackson virtual ceremony, which we promise to make as exciting as possible for a 
Facebook Live presentation. Our goal is to truly celebrate some fantastic people who work hard to make Jackson a unique place to live and enjoy. Soon, this pandemic will end, and we can get back out there.

For now, remember to shop local and support our community as well as you can under the circumstances. Be safe, wear a mask, get that vaccine as soon as you can and stay positive. This issue should help—it's full of the best that Jackson has to offer. Enjoy!

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