The weekend after surviving one of the worst school shootings in American history, a few students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School met up for a slumber party and vowed to change the world. The goal was sensible — real gun reform. The battle, the kids instinctively knew, would be waged on social media. The #NeverAgain movement was born: a youth-driven, politics-conquering triumph that proved beyond doubt the establishment is no match for a committed group of teens fighting the good fight. The group's cofounders won Twitter this year by hitting hypocrisy head-on. They dispatched Alex Jones conspiracy wacks with alacrity. They doled out memes, spanked down GOP naysayers, and organized millions to march for gun restrictions. Corin has been among the most effective in the group, blending an earnest call to action with a sense of humor and willingness to tussle. "If you are a student in Florida, print this tag and wear it to school. Remind the world that you are worth $1.05 to @marcorubio," she tweeted with a link to a price tag, referencing Sen. Marco Rubio's millions in NRA donations divided by the number of students in the state. No wonder Corin has tallied more than 160,000 followers in just a few short months.

Best Live Music Venue
Cris Ascunce / Courtesy of the GMCVB

You can catch a band in a dive bar or corporate-branded arena just about anywhere in the world, but any concert is more enjoyable at the Historic Virginia Key Beach Park, where you can dance to sonic grooves in paradise. Over the last few years, the idyllic beachside oasis has hosted the indie dance rock of House of Creatives Music Festival, the reggae sway of Nine Mile Music Festival, and the Burning Man-inspired zaniness of Love Burn. Staring at the unsullied night sky while Alt-J plays fan-favorite tracks, or skanking along to the music of the Marley Brothers while an egret flies overhead is an experience you're unlikely to have at any conventional stadium or theater concert.

Miami's most fearless police reporter does not work for a newspaper, magazine, TV station, or radio program. He is instead a cantankerous former bank robber with a mouth unsuitable for FCC-regulated airtime. Al Crespo's Crespogram is bafflingly designed (it's full of mismatched typefaces, all-caps headlines, and big round buttons like a vintage GeoCities page), traffics in rumor, and makes liberal use of the words "cocksucker," "dildo," "bitch," and "pussy." That the Crespogram is only occasionally verifiable or readable is not the point — Crespo has such a knack for securing public records and clandestine documents that every blog is a must-click. He's broken criminal justice stories that deserve citywide attention — from the apparent theft of multiple guns from inside the City of Miami Police Department, to news that Miami PD brass knowingly left murder evidence in a metal storage locker under an I-95 overpass, to investigative files tying Miami Officer Edward Lugo to an FBI sting. Sure, Al is always screaming, but if you had as much dirt on Miami cops and politicians as Al does, you'd curse too.

Miami Beach City Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez's entire career has been defined by chutzpah — from her admitted habit of putting her foot in her own mouth, to her penchant for calling reporters around town and yelling at them when she doesn't like the tone of someone's coverage. But one incident in particular this year took the cake. As Hurricane Irma dumped gallons of rain onto Miami Beach, local arms dealer Erik Agazim allegedly strapped on a Kevlar helmet and vest, hung an AR-15-style rifle on his body, grabbed a machete, and started attacking fire alarms throughout his apartment complex. His neighbors said they were terrified. But Agazim had also recently donated $2,700 to Rosen Gonzalez's 2018 congressional campaign. Rosen Gonzalez had the nerve to email Police Chief Dan Oates and tell him to lay off Agazim, who was dressed like he was heading into Fallujah. "Erik is a meticulous and upstanding businessman," she messaged the chief. Miami Beach PD arrested him anyway.

Best Boy Gone Bad

To say that Roger Stone "went bad" isn't entirely accurate — much like a deep-sea anglerfish or Batman's Bane, Stone was born into darkness. He happily admits he had a hand in the Watergate break-in and gleefully participated in a recent Netflix documentary detailing just how underhanded, sly, and cruel he is. But 2017 was the year Fort Lauderdale's Stone seemingly went from "behind-the-scenes heel" to "full-time conspiracy theorist and major player in what kinda-sorta sounds like a treason probe." He got booted from Twitter and compensated by becoming a regular InfoWars contributor. Stone's threatened some sort of uprising if Trump is impeached, he's been sued for defamation by a Chinese billionaire, and he's been caught in increasingly slimy-looking conversations with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange over the alleged Democratic National Committee email hack in 2016. Stone didn't so much fall from grace in 2017 as he jumped back into the black tar pit from which he was spawned.

Best Boy Gone Good

When David Hogg was hiding in a closet to avoid being murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February, he probably wasn't thinking about how he'd be forced to spend the foreseeable future getting trolled, insulted, and downright smeared online. But such is the quality of internet discourse in 2018. More than any other Parkland survivor, Hogg, age 18, has been villainized by the right-wing media-sphere, all because he had the gall to demand that it become harder for some Americans to buy assault rifles. Hogg has been called a 27-year-old "crisis actor" (wrong), a liar who didn't live through the shooting (also wrong), a foulmouthed demon, a communist, a fascist, a Marxist, a Nazi sympathizer, and more. Someone made an entire website (HoggWatch.com) dedicated to smearing him. But what Hogg has done is hold a mirror up to show America its absolute ugliest, most craven side. Miami-area cops, Sinclair Broadcasting TV anchors, Fox News host Laura Ingraham, and others have been slammed for attacking Hogg personally. He's being attacked because he's winning.

Best Girl Gone Bad

It would be hard to find a time when Miami-Dade County State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle could have been described as a "good" influence in Miami-Dade County. For the last 25 years, she's been Miami's top prosecutor, AKA the person tasked with charging poor black and brown Miamians with drug crimes while letting corrupt politicians and killer cops walk free without a legal scratch on them. But 2017 was the year Rundle's record caught up to her: After she shamefully announced she wasn't bothering to charge four state prison guards involved in the scalding-hot-shower death of schizophrenic inmate Darren Rainey, protests erupted, and Rundle was forced to give multiple rambling, dreadful, and easily picked-apart defenses in public and in the press. In 25 years, Rundle has never charged a Miami-area cop for killing a person on duty — this was the year the whole community seemed to realize she "went bad" a long, long time ago.

Best Quote

This might just be the greatest quote in Miami public-corruption history. It's all right there — the cold desperation, the plea for mercy, the inability to own up to one's mistakes despite knowing that everything will get a lot worse if you don't come clean right now. Last year, Miami Herald reporting duo Nick Nehamas and Joey Flechas nailed Grieco for collecting money from a so-called "straw donor," who was paid by a noncitizen to illegally contribute foreign money to Grieco's campaign for Miami Beach mayor. After the duo tied a political-action committee to Grieco, the reporters sat down in the Miami Beach city commissioner and lawyer's office in Brickell — where Grieco stared them right in the eyes and said the allegations were "absolutely untrue. You can look right into my soul." The Herald instead looked into his handwriting and found that Grieco had pretty clearly signed PAC documents. Grieco eventually pleaded no contest to straw-donor charges and was temporarily barred from running for office.

Most government flacks respond to critical reporters in a few obvious ways: by screaming over the phone, ignoring requests for information, or publicly accusing journalists of lying. The Miami Beach Police Department's Ernesto Rodriguez is the rare public figure who seems to understand that it is a reporter's job to critique governmental decisions — he's happy as long as his side of the story is heard. It helps that "Ernie" secures information at a rapid-fire pace. It also helps that he's active on Twitter. During CNN's Parkland town hall, he was busy yelling at the National Rifle Association's Dana Loesch just like the rest of us.

Best TV Reporter

Glenna Milberg is the rare TV news reporter who seems to understand that her job is to critique powerful people, not to suck up to them. Milberg has been a fixture on South Florida TV for decades, and she's earned her airtime. Today she hosts This Week in South Florida, a public-affairs program where constituents can listen to candidates explain and defend their platforms. Where most TV reporters are occupied with ludicrous features about the latest, dangerous teenage social media challenges, Milberg spends her weekends pressing politicians about their thoughts on topics such as school funding or environmental policy.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®