Best of the Year

Our Editors' Favorite Stories of 2020

Here are the stories that stuck with us.

By Sarasota Magazine Staff December 30, 2020

"One of our best projects this year is an online series called Listening to Black Voices, which originated with regular contributor Heather Dunhill soon after the death of George Floyd. Heather was listening to Rev. Otis Moss III deliver a sermon, asking all artists to find a way to help us heal as a nation. Her response was to tell the personal histories of Black friends and locals. The result has been a series of revealing interviews that are part historical record and part call to action. Many of the people Heather interviewed are front-row witnesses and participants in civil rights, the first in their families to step out of poverty, and pioneers in research, medicine, finance, business, the arts and education. Their stories are unforgettable and powerful and describe experiences with a frankness that can change how we think about racism and the future." —Susan Burns, editor-in-chief

"It's hard to pick a favorite, but I have a personal fondness for the story I wrote for our May-June issue, 'By the Book.' I'm such a bookworm, and loved looking back at the history of our Sarasota writers and the uniqueness of our city in their books." —Kay Kipling, executive editor

"One thing you can't control as a journalist: the timing of when your story drops. So sometimes that means your big splashy travel feature is published right when the world is hurtling into a pandemic that is shutting down movement around the globe. That's what happened to a March story I wrote about exploring the Everglades, a story that became irrelevant as soon as the first case of Covid-19 was recorded in Florida. But it remains the story I had the most fun writing this year. With a Covid vaccine on the horizon, I've already begun daydreaming about traveling again. If you've never explored the Everglades before, maybe 2021 is the year." —Cooper Levey-Baker
"Isaac Eger's 'Who Owns Florida's Beaches?' is an in-depth look at the clash between beachfront homeowners and the public that's been going on since 2018. Prior to reading it, I had no idea about the laws that govern the public's beach use—and how confusing it can be to enforce them. In Sarasota, with our miles of gorgeous shoreline, the story hits especially close to home—and I'm not the only one who thought that; it was one of our most popular pieces of the year and a Longform pick of the week after it was published." —Megan McDonald, digital editor
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