Trapped within the airless confines of a Writing for the Web conference last fall, I learned many things. I learned that most of the presenters hadn't actually seen the World Wide Web since we stopped calling it that, for one thing. But the most valuable lesson I came away with was presented by one of those slick youngsters who rule today's media. While daily newspapers are throwing reporters overboard and TV news becomes viewer-driven, alternative newsweeklies, he said, have a special role. I yawned, thinking of the box lunch ahead. The alt weekly, as with the Bohemian, he counseled, offers two things that other media don't. I idly wondered if there would be a cookie. And then he startled me with a three-word blurt: "Love and soul."
Pardon? Yes, he repeated, love and soul are what alt weeklies can give to their communities that no one else can.
I wrote that baby directly down. But because I can't translate it to Latin, we aim close with "Hand and Heart," the spirit of this year's Best Of issue in which we offer as much love and soul as can be packed into one super issue, highlighting all the many things that make the North Bay such a wonderful place to extend hand, live with heart, offer love and experience soul.
Contributing to the Best Of Writers Picks this year are editorial heroes Brett Ascarelli, Sara Bir, Ethan Hartmann, Andrea Hollingshead, Molly T. Jackel, James Knight, Gabe Meline, Matt Pamatmat, Lois Pearlman, Bruce Robinson, David Sason, David Templeton, Christopher Tomera and Tara Treasurefield. We're hepped to the Love and Soul beat.