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BEST LOCAL WRITER Miami 2004 - Carl Zablotny

Rumors of South Beach's demise are greatly exaggerated -- at least according to Wire, the Beach weekly published and written mostly by Carl Zablotny, a one-man cheerleading army for the city's enduring charms. Since buying the paper from founder Andrew Delaplaine in 1999, Zablotny has continued its mission of chronicling the city's queer social whirl. Dashing from nightclub event to art happening, profiling local entrepreneurs and visiting celebs, as well as shooting photos of it all, Zablotny takes a refreshingly catholic view of just what constitutes a notable cultural event. It makes for a wacky mix, but Zablotny is at least as political in his outlook as Delaplaine's often over-the-top editorials were. If his impassioned campaign endorsements seem to change wildly depending upon which Beach candidates buy full-page Wire ads, as when a commissioner labeled a nightlife "Nazi" suddenly transformed into a well-meaning civic leader, well, that's part of the fun. After all, as Zablotny himself has wryly quipped in his own pages, "It takes more than a pretty face to make the cover of the Wire ... or does it?" Upton Sinclair he ain't, but for a vivid slice of the Beach life -- high, low, or in drag -- Zablotny delivers week after week.

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