For the past 15 years, the annual Best of Texoma magazine has showcased the best the region has to offer in food, shopping and other services. With its anniversary, the annual readers’ choice recognitions will see changes to better serve the Texoma region.


These changes will include a new logo, two-tiered voting process, a new awards ceremony and increased recognition for the top nominees for each category.


“I am excited to announce the changes for our 15th anniversary Best of Texoma program set to launch in 2017,” Texoma Marketing and Media Group Senior Group Publisher Nate Rodriguez said in a written statement. “After being a Texoma resident for the past nine months, I have quickly come to notice the pride in being voted one of these prestigious honors.”


Under the new voting system, readers will be able to submit votes for the best business or organization in nearly 125 categories through the Herald Democrat website or by mailing in nomination ballots that will be printed in a future Sunday edition. Mailed ballots are limited to two ballots per envelope and must have a return address.


“As publisher, I have met with several members of the business community and residents of Texoma who have had questions regarding the voting process,” Rodriguez said. “I am pleased to be a part of creating a new direction for this program that will take the mystery out of the process. Having been a part of other highly respected readers’ choice programs across the nation, I know the direction we are going during this anniversary year will bring more prestige to nominees and winners.”


From the nomination phase, the top three finalists for each category will be chosen as finalists and go on to a second round of voting. In addition to these changes, the annual publication will highlight each of the nominees with content created by the Herald Democrat newsroom. This will give readers as much useful information as possible when using local services.


“This is set up to give consumers, especially those who are new to the area, a chance to make informed decisions,” Herald Democrat Executive Editor Jonathan Cannon said. “Having a list of three nominees will give readers more choices with the confidence that what they choose will be a positive.”


Additionally, Cannon said, the results of the readers’ choice program will be used throughout the year to power content to serve readers.


The winners of each category will be announced at the new Best of Texoma Gala. Cannon said this will be a chance to celebrate all those who were nominated for their services in the community. The annual magazine will be published the Sunday following the gala.