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Blog: Random Pixels
Age: Late 50s
Primary specialty: Ruining the day for Miami Herald editors
Secondary specialty: Keeping tabs on other bloggers
Last job: Freelance photographer
Net worth: "Less than what a yearly car lease costs for one county commissioner"
Criminal record: None
Blog history: On March 25, 2008, the former Vietnam vet and prolific news photographer launched Random Pixels to keep tabs on local media companies, expose the shenanigans of Miami and county leaders, and take trips down Magic City memory lane. When he is not publishing lists of government employees pulling in six figures a year, or making life miserable for editors, Cooke reminds readers of the city's sordid history. On November 8, 2010, he posted documents showing 3,301 county employees made more than $100,000 annually. "That's more than 10 percent of the county workforce who are livin' large on your tax dollars," Cooke wrote. Last year, he started a recurring blog post called "Mindy Watch: Checking Up on America's Worst Newspaper Editor," which focuses on alleged miscues by Herald executive editor Aminda Marques Gonzalez.
Sometimes he cites factual and grammatical errors in graphics and headlines. Other times he chronicles the Herald's steady decline in circulation. Then there are his comments about the front page, such as his criticism this past November 30 when the paper didn't place a story about the conviction of the black female fire chief above the fold in the A section. Other news outlets are also targets. He recently accused the Huffington Post's Miami operation of plagiarism and admonished WPLG-TV anchor Todd Tongen for encouraging citizens to send in their own videos of possible news at a time when reporters and photographers are being laid off.
Even his favored politicians get spanked. Though he endorsed Carlos Gimenez for county mayor last June 25, Cooke has since written four items criticizing Miami-Dade's newly crowned king, including the hiring of an executive team whose members make at least $100,000 a year.
Why he's No. 8: Cooke is a great unofficial ombudsman for the city's only major daily newspaper, but he doesn't actively engage his subjects. He would rank higher if he coordinated protests outside 1 Herald Plaza. He also loses points for not wanting a current photo taken because "he doesn't want the attention." So why are you blogging, Bill?