The community will be given a chance to decide the best of Juneau in the Empire's new Readers' Choice awards, which started with online voting Monday.
Paper ballots will appear in four separate daily editions, starting with the July 11 Sunday edition.
More than 100 categories range from the best in food service to legal and medical services. Winners will be announced Sept. 19 in a special section to be inserted inside the newspaper.
Empire Advertising Director Paul Hay said he considers Readers' Choice a community service.
"This is a chance for the community to say, 'This is the best place,'" he said. "It allows people to feel involved in the community and that they have a voice."
The Empire will sell contest sponsorships and advertising space in the special section.
During the first round of voting that continues until July 30, readers write the names of their choices on ballots. The top five mentions from the first round will be placed on a second ballot, when readers choose the top three for awards. The second round of voting will end Aug. 20.
First-place winners receive a plaque; second and third place receive a certificate.
But bragging rights will be the intangible reward, Hay said.
"Word of mouth is huge, it's the best advertising there is."
Voting is free and requires about 15 minutes. Paper ballots must be turned in to the Empire. Photocopied ballots are not allowed.
Online voting, at www.juneauempire.com/readerschoice, will be monitored to make sure people are not voting more than once per day, Hay said.
Hay joined the Empire's advertising department in May, moving to Juneau from Oregon. Readers' Choice, or "best of" contests, proved to be popular in his previous places of work.
"It's a lot of fun for the community and it creates competition," Hay said. "And some people might be surprised by the results."
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