Best Miami Herald Writer (2006)

Fred Grimm

The star of your Herald's local section is undoubtedly 2004 Pulitzer Prize winner Leonard Pitts, who writes forcefully about politics, culture, and race and happens to do so from Maryland. The less, uh, heralded columnist, Fred Grimm, you're more likely to notice loitering at Le Tub on the Intracoastal. His copy is likewise local and, lately, has been the most reliably solid read in the paper. In recent months, Grimm has leveled his pen at such deserving targets as Katherine Harris ("Before we elect leaders who covet a 17th century-style theocracy, maybe a few impolite questions might be in order"), helmet-averse bikers ("It's those who insist on lingering around hospital trauma centers whose personal freedoms intrude on the commonwealth"), and juvenile boot camps ("Oh, how we love to combat crime with military metaphors. Unless some brave political leader declares a War on Useless Policies, the failures just won't matter."). Grimm gets out of the office, fixes his gaze away from his own navel, and argues forcefully without taking the tone of an apoplectic PTA mother. Example: Rather than work himself into a froth during the immigration debate, he noted calmly that all six of the trophy winners at Broward's latest spelling bee were the children of immigrants. When a middle-schooler there told Grimm that he was familiar with his work, it boggled the columnist's mind: "Here was this 13-year-old in a tie, a dress shirt and shiny shoes, rather more sophisticated than the tieless writer in a knit pull-over. (The shine on all my shoes dates to the date of purchase.) I tried not to notice that kid didn't add, ÔI admire your work.'" But of course, the kid didn't. Goes without saying.

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